police

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

Definition of police

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 archaic : govern
2 : to control, regulate, or keep in order by use of police
3 : to make clean and put in order
4a : 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
5 : to perform the functions of a police force in or over

police

noun, often attributive
plural police

Definition of police (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : 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
2a : 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
b  plural : police officers
4a : a private organization resembling a police force campus police
b  plural : the members of a private police organization
5a : the action or process of cleaning and putting in order
b : military personnel detailed to perform this function
6 : one attempting to regulate or censor a specified field or activity the fashion police

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Synonyms for police

Synonyms: Noun

law

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Examples of police in a Sentence

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.

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Thailand already has a Computer Crime Act that polices online media. Washington Post, "Thailand to set up center to combat ‘fake news’," 21 Aug. 2019 The body was identified Wednesday as that of Leonard Dyck, a Vancouver man who police believe the pair was responsible for murdering as well. Fox News, "Canada police search last known homes of teens wanted in nationwide murder manhunt," 27 July 2019 The video showed the clerk unlocking the door (the store opens at 6 a.m.) for a man who police now believe is the suspect. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al.com, "South Alabama store clerk shot and killed in early-morning holdup," 24 July 2019 Back in the 1950s, a wave of public sentiment against excessively violent comic books led to the establishment of the Comics Code Authority, which policed comic book content and awarded a stamp to approved material. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Why LGBTQ comic artists are caught up in a free speech tug-of-war, and what they’re doing about it," 20 July 2019 The ruling dealt a blow to a sports apparel giant that famously polices other companies and designers for any possible infringement on its logo. CBS News, "Adidas 3-stripes logo doesn't deserve trademark protection, EU court rules," 19 June 2019 But that pairing has been grafted on to an airless setting (the London branch of the MiB, a secret agency that polices alien activity on earth) and a hopelessly convoluted plot, which adds up to 114 minutes of nothing in particular. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Men in Black: International Forgets What Made the Original So Great," 12 June 2019 In short, white supremacist police cannot be expected to police white supremacy. Sam Adler-bell, The New Republic, "Don’t Give the Government More Power to Fight White Terrorism," 7 Aug. 2019 His position was that the league would only attempt to police political behavior and fan misconduct inside stadiums. New York Times, "Alejandro Bedoya Spoke Out on Gun Violence. Now He Is M.L.S.’s Player of the Week.," 5 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Jesus Gama, 39, of the 2500 block of New England Avenue, Chicago, was charged with DUI and speeding Aug 3. after a traffic stop in the 7700 block of Grand Avenue, police said. Deborah Kadin, chicagotribune.com, "Elmwood Park, River Grove police reports: Toyota, as much as $7,000 worth of tools stolen," 9 Aug. 2019 The video also shows the youth going through the civilian lab technician’s pockets, and police said he was robbed. Mckenna Oxenden, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore Police arrest two more teens in robbery, beating of civilian police employee," 9 Aug. 2019 The attacks started out as robberies and quickly turned deadly, police said. Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times, "Suspect in Orange County knife rampage charged with four counts of murder," 9 Aug. 2019 The puppy, a male beagle mix, is approximately six weeks old, police said. Zach Murdock, courant.com, "Beagle puppy abandoned in bag on Southington road prompts animal cruelty investigation," 9 Aug. 2019 Two men were shot dead when another motorist, possibly armed with an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle, crashed into their car on a Houston freeway during rush hour and opened fire, police said. NBC News, "Two men shot dead on Houston freeway at rush hour; manhunt underway," 9 Aug. 2019 According to Fox 26 in Houston, police said the alleged attackers intentionally struck the other vehicle. Madeline Fitzgerald, Time, "Gunman With Rifle Kills 2 People on Houston Freeway in Rush Hour Traffic – Then Escapes," 9 Aug. 2019 The two women were rushed to local hospitals, police said. Fox News, "Pennsylvania woman killed in double stabbing at bus stop; suspect in custody," 9 Aug. 2019 This time, the pair was successful and drove off in a getaway car, police said. Michelle Iracheta, Houston Chronicle, "Police: Pair accused of targeting shoppers in Missouri City arrested, charged," 8 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

Verb

1589, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1698, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for police

Verb

in sense 1, from Middle French policier, from police conduct of public affairs; in other senses, from police entry 2

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

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Statistics for police

Last Updated

25 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for police

The first known use of police was in 1589

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More Definitions for police

police

verb

English Language Learners Definition of police

 (Entry 1 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

noun

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

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

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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More from Merriam-Webster on police

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with police

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for police

Spanish Central: Translation of police

Nglish: Translation of police for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of police for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about police

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