police state

noun
Updated on: 17 May 2018

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

Recent Examples of police state from the Web

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.

First Known Use of police state

1851

in the meaning defined above

See Words from the same year
NEW! Time Traveler

POLICE STATE Defined for English Language Learners

police state

Definition of police state for English Language Learners

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


Learn More about police state


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a case containing an explosive

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • spring-flowers
  • Which is a synonym of raillery?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!