police

noun, often attributive
plural police

Definition of police

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the department of government concerned primarily with maintenance of public order, safety, and health and enforcement of laws and possessing executive, judicial, and legislative powers
b : the department of government charged with prevention, detection, and prosecution of public nuisances and crimes
3a : a private organization resembling a police force campus police
b plural : the members of a private police organization
4 : one attempting to regulate or censor a specified field or activity the fashion police
5a : the internal organization or regulation of a political unit through exercise of governmental powers especially with respect to general comfort, health, morals, safety, or prosperity
b : control and regulation of affairs affecting the general order and welfare of any unit or area
c : the system of laws for effecting such control
6a : the action or process of cleaning and putting in order
b : military personnel detailed to perform this function

police

verb
po·​lice | \ pə-ˈlēs How to pronounce police (audio) \
policed; policing

Definition of police (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to control, regulate, or keep in order by use of police
2 : to perform the functions of a police force in or over
3a : to supervise the operation, execution, or administration of to prevent or detect and prosecute violations of rules and regulations
b : to exercise such supervision over the policies and activities of
4 : to make clean and put in order
5 archaic : govern

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Synonyms for police

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of police in a Sentence

Noun Police arrested a man whom they identified as the murderer. the appearance of a ransom note meant that the teenager's disappearance was now a matter for the police Verb The officers police the streets for reckless drivers. The coast is policed by the military. The international agency polices the development of atomic energy facilities.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The scooter rider crashed at 5:21 p.m. near Market and 21st streets, near Coors Field, and was transported to a hospital with minor injuries, police said. Saja Hindi, The Denver Post, "Scooter rider transported to hospital after crashing into Denver cop, parked car before Rockies game," 15 Sep. 2019 Inside that car, police found gunshot residue and a 9 mm bullet casing. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, "21 years for man who admitted to fatal drive-by shooting in Oceanside," 12 Sep. 2019 At the scene, police found a ticket stub from the previous night's Washington Senators loss to the Angels, at Griffith Stadium. Steve Rushin, SI.com, "The Death of Paper Tickets and the Stories They Leave Behind," 12 Sep. 2019 Inside the backpack, police found a black and green Springfield XD9 pistol with the magazine inserted. Wayne K. Roustan, sun-sentinel.com, "Student arrested for bringing gun to school, cops say," 10 Sep. 2019 San Francisco police found a 19-year-old man fatally shot in a car in the Crocker-Amazon neighborhood on Sunday night, officials said. Anna Bauman, SFChronicle.com, "Man, 19, found fatally shot in car in San Francisco," 9 Sep. 2019 The place, dedicated to job seekers aged between 25 and 48, is located in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where two boys died after fleeing police in 2005. Washington Post, "French First Lady sets up adult school in poor Paris suburb," 18 Sep. 2019 Winter Garden police detectives and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement keyed in on the Riveras after one of Bruce’s friend’s told them about the drug deal. David Harris, orlandosentinel.com, "Documents detail elaborate father-son scheme to cover up Winter Garden teen’s killing," 17 Sep. 2019 Brendan Reilly’s office, which Chicago police confirmed. Alice Yin, chicagotribune.com, "Active shooter drill to take place Tuesday morning at Water Tower Place," 17 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The agency began policing cigarettes then but didn’t add e-cigarettes to its portfolio until 2016. Josh Wingrove, Fortune, "Trump Is Trying to Ban Flavored Vape Cartridges," 11 Sep. 2019 There also are activists, including students and civil rights organizations, who are calling for fewer officers and less policing on campus. Los Angeles Times, "L.A. student took a bullet in the jaw, but the district didn’t disclose the shooting for 2 weeks," 11 Sep. 2019 Elliott, the former federal fraud prosecutor, said the Justice Department is more focused on policing fraud against the government health plans. Marshall Allen, ProPublica, "We Asked Prosecutors if Health Insurance Companies Care About Fraud. They Laughed at Us.," 10 Sep. 2019 But in 2002 the notion that America could police the world didn’t seem so far-fetched. Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker, "The Moral Logic of Humanitarian Intervention," 9 Sep. 2019 The project’s maiden foray into policing the press has not sufficiently proven that its earned all of this attention. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "The Boundless Grift of Right-Wing Media Watchdogs," 4 Sep. 2019 That argument is undercut by methane emissions, which by some estimates make natural gas no better than coal if leaks aren’t vigilantly policed. Justin Worland, Time, "Why President Trump Cut a Methane Regulation That Even Big Oil Companies Wanted to Keep," 29 Aug. 2019 For that reason they are used politically in terms of passing policies or determining who gets policed or whose vulnerability matters. Jonny Auping, Longreads, "‘Victims Become This Object of Fascination… This Silent Symbol.’," 23 Aug. 2019 Crenshaw argued that Marche, who took a 10-year break from policing in East Cleveland from 2005 to 2015 to work for the private security contractor Blackwater, never received the necessary refresher courses to begin policing again. Cory Shaffer, cleveland.com, "Activists allege dozens of East Cleveland’s police officers were not compliant with training, seek criminal charges," 23 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'police.' 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

Noun

1698, in the meaning defined at sense 5a

Verb

1589, in the meaning defined at sense 5

History and Etymology for police

Noun

French, from Old French, from Late Latin politia government, administration, from Greek politeia, from politēs citizen, from polis city, state; akin to Sanskrit pur rampart, Lithuanian pilis castle

Verb

in sense 5, from Middle French policier, from police conduct of public affairs; in other senses, from police entry 1

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Statistics for police

Last Updated

4 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for police

The first known use of police was in 1589

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More Definitions for police

police

noun

English Language Learners Definition of police

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the people or the department of people who enforce laws, investigate crimes, and make arrests

police

verb
How to pronounce police (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of police (Entry 2 of 2)

: to control and keep order in (an area) by the use of police or military forces
: to control (something) by making sure that rules and regulations are being followed

police

verb
po·​lice | \ pə-ˈlēs How to pronounce police (audio) \
policed; policing

Kids Definition of police

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to keep order in or among Officers police the city.

police

noun
plural police

Kids Definition of police (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the department of government that keeps order and enforces law, investigates crimes, and makes arrests
2 police plural : members of a police force
po·​lice
policed; policing

Legal Definition of police

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to control, regulate, or keep in order especially as an official duty police the area

police

noun
plural police

Legal Definition of police (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the control and regulation of affairs affecting the order and welfare of a political unit and its citizens
2a : the department of a government or other institution that maintains order and safety and enforces laws
c plural : the members of a police force

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