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

Even without high-tech surveillance, Xinjiang’s police state is formidable. The Economist, "China has turned Xinjiang into a police state like no other," 31 May 2018 Last month the United Nations warned that South Sudan is increasingly run by its national security service and the country is at risk of becoming a police state, according to a report by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan. Sam Mednick, The Seattle Times, "7 in South Sudan charged with sabotage and insurgency," 25 Mar. 2019 To an entire police state of silencing and off-roading content. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Symone D. Sanders Thinks the End of Net Neutrality Is a Threat to Activists and Candidates," 11 June 2018 Preliminary information provided by police stated that SWAT officers were able to get into the garage, and the man pointed a gun toward at least one officer. Hannah Leone, chicagotribune.com, "Man dies after SWAT standoff in Calumet Heights," 16 June 2018 That is by design, and it is reinforced by the country’s ruthless police state. BostonGlobe.com, "Atrocities under Kim Jong Un: Indoctrination, prison gulags, executions," 13 June 2018 Xinjiang is the nightmarish extreme that the new technology makes possible: a racist police state. The Economist, "Does China’s digital police state have echoes in the West?," 31 May 2018 With little contact between the North Korean public and the outside world, and no polling in the police state, gauging domestic reaction to the summit is difficult, if not impossible. Victoria Kim, latimes.com, "Forget the nuclear summit — North Korea's news agency focuses on a fish restaurant," 9 June 2018 A year earlier, top Nazi officials considered the Madagascar Plan: forcibly relocating Europe’s Jews to the African island, which would be run as a police state by the Nazi SS. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "Jeff Sessions Defends Family Separation With False Claim About Nazis’ Treatment of Jews," 19 June 2018

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

19 Apr 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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