police state

noun

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 Pahlavi embarked on a police state that suppressed all forms of dissent while maintaining allegiances with Washington. Fox News, "America's involvement in regime changes over the years," 8 May 2020 The police state’s control over the population has been such that a civil uprising is all but unthinkable in the North. New York Times, "Kim Jong-un Is Back. What Happens When He’s Really Gone?," 2 May 2020 There is a deep geopolitical fascination with North Korea, the world’s most isolated police state. Choe Sang-hun, New York Times, "Where Is Kim Jong-un? How Experts Track North Korea’s Leader," 26 Apr. 2020 The Palestinian cause used to be the great standard of Arab nationalism, uniting Arab police states in their rejection of Israel. Jonathan Spyer, WSJ, "Israel’s New Diplomatic Moment," 3 Mar. 2020 As far as a national lock down is concerned, there are real concerns if [the country goes] to a police state, particularly for the African-American community. Madison Gray, CBS News, "U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams on COVID-19's disproportionate impact on black America," 9 Apr. 2020 Additional 911 calls indicated a vehicle had crashed at on Interstate 71 near Duck Creek Road after traveling the wrong way down the Dana Avenue exit ramp, Cincinnati police stated in a news release. Pat Brennan, Cincinnati.com, "Woman, 34, among 2 found shot in crashed vehicle on I-71, has died," 6 Apr. 2020 Afraid of the sight of blood Assad was encouraged to become a doctor by his late father, who ruled Syria for three decades as a virtual police state. Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY, "Syria's war turns 9: How barbarity, confusion and indifference helped Bashar Assad prosper," 14 Mar. 2020 Monroe police state Nicholas Mattox, 23, was also arrested in connection with the homicide. Madeline Mitchell, Cincinnati.com, "Monroe homicide: 2 arrests made after woman found dead Tuesday afternoon," 6 Feb. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of police state

1851, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about police state

Time Traveler for police state

Time Traveler

The first known use of police state was in 1851

See more words from the same year

Statistics for police state

Last Updated

16 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Police state.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/police%20state. Accessed 29 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for police state

police state

noun

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

Comments on police state

What made you want to look up police state? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!