police state


Definition of police state

: a political unit characterized by repressive governmental control of political, economic, and social life usually by an arbitrary exercise of power by police and especially secret police in place of regular operation of administrative and judicial organs of the government according to publicly known legal procedures

Examples of police state in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In one sense, all the key features of south Florida’s immigration police state have been hiding in plain sight for a generation. Ken Silverstein, The New Republic, "Shock Corridor," 19 Aug. 2019 When the movie opens, the pillars and crossbeams of the USSR’s police state are still in place, but the foundation is showing cracks. Ty Burr, BostonGlobe.com, "‘Leto’ revisits Soviet socialist rock ’n’ roll," 31 July 2019 The section Perec completed tells of a math teacher, in a fictional North African police state, entrusted with the manuscript of the mystery novelist Robert Serval, which is supposed to contain clues to Serval’s sudden disappearance. Paul Grimstad, The New Yorker, "The Absolute Originality of Georges Perec," 16 July 2019 That's how privacy-invading technology - the stuff of China's police state - creeps into American life. Anchorage Daily News, "To board a plane without a ticket, just give up your face -- and your privacy," 11 June 2019 Fiction Chan Ho-Kei, translation by Jeremy Tiang A book that pairs a detective’s career with the history of Hong Kong, including how the city’s became a police state under the Communist Party’s rule. Amanda Shendruk, Quartzy, "Here’s what every Chinese book recently translated for the US is about," 27 July 2019 Multiple people were wounded in the shooting that claimed the life of Ja’Naiya Scott, police stated at a press conference on the arrest. Chris Harris, PEOPLE.com, "S.C. Teen Allegedly Confessed on Facebook to Girl's Murder, But He Claims He Got Hacked," 4 July 2019 Cornyn declaring that this idea that the judge is guilty until proven innocent is like a police state. Fox News, "Hannity: Democrats have turned SCOTUS process into a sham," 27 Sep. 2018 The victim was transported to a nearby hospital with what is believed to be non-life threatening injuries, Commerce City police stated in a news release. Robert Garrison, The Denver Post, "Teen shot in leg at Commerce City park," 21 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'police state.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of police state

1851, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for police state

Last Updated

6 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for police state

The first known use of police state was in 1851

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More Definitions for police state

police state


English Language Learners Definition of police state

: a country in which the activities of the people are strictly controlled by the government with the help of a police force

More from Merriam-Webster on police state

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with police state

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one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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