pre·cinct | \ ˈprē-ˌsiŋ(k)t \

Definition of precinct 

1 : a part of a territory with definite bounds or functions often established for administrative purposes : district: such as

a : a subdivision of a county, town, city, or ward for election purposes

b : a division of a city for police control

2a : an enclosure bounded by the walls of a building often used in plural

b : a sphere of thought, action, or influence often used in plural

3a precincts plural : the region immediately surrounding a place : environs

b : place, locale

4 : boundary often used in plural a ruined tower within the precincts of the squire's grounds —T. L. Peacock

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Examples of precinct in a Sentence

a sexist attitude that was pretty common in the precincts of the automobile business

Recent Examples on the Web

Harris County Constable Precinct 1, in conjunction with Project ChildSafe, will distribute free firearm safety kits to local residents, according to a news release issued by the precinct. Victoria Cheyne, Houston Chronicle, "Free firearm safety kits to be distributed," 12 July 2018 Pricier precincts near Manhattan, like Long Island City in Queens, and Greenpoint and Williamsburg in Brooklyn, had the most units overall, with a total of 5,561 apartments in 20 buildings, accounting for 45 percent of new flood-zone units. New York Times, "New Buildings Rise in Flood Zones," 6 July 2018 There are 871 precincts and 458 polling locations, although Bucher could not say precisely how many are changing. Marci Shatzman,, "Palm Beach County voters, beware: Your polling place may have changed," 21 June 2018 Weinstein’s walk to New York’s first precinct, however, may serve as a reminder that legal consequences could follow social ostracization. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "Harvey Weinstein’s Arrest Marks a Pivotal Turning Point for the #MeToo Movement," 25 May 2018 Ada County has 150 precincts, and nearly as many polling sites. Katy Moeller, Ruth Brown And Cynthia Sewell, idahostatesman, "Ada County printing more Democratic ballots due to high turnout | Idaho Statesman," 15 May 2018 The case featured a copyright infringement claim brought by a former New York City Police Department captain—Thomas Walker—who was assigned to the 41st precinct in the Bronx. Michael Mccann,, "Why the Law Appears to Favor Alabama in Budding Barbershop Battle With LeBron," 5 Apr. 2018 Portland gave the amendment its biggest per capita support, with the largest majorities in precincts inhabited by middle-class and skilled working-class voters. Longreads, "Oregon’s Racist Past," 12 July 2018 Shortly after the car was reported stolen, an officer in the White Marsh precinct spotted a vehicle matching the description, according to police. Sarah Meehan,, "Suspect crashes stolen car into power transformer after police chase in Baltimore County, police say," 29 June 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for precinct

Middle English, from Medieval Latin praecinctum, from Latin, neuter of praecinctus, past participle of praecingere to gird, encircle, from prae- pre- + cingere to gird — more at cincture

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Statistics for precinct

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for precinct

The first known use of precinct was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of precinct

: any one of the sections that a town or city is divided into when people vote in an election

: any one of the sections that a city is divided into for organizing the city's police forces

: a police station of a precinct


pre·cinct | \ ˈprē-ˌsiŋkt \

Kids Definition of precinct

1 : any of the sections into which a town or city is divided for a particular purpose (as voting or police protection)

2 : a surrounding or enclosed area Stay within school precincts.

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Comments on precinct

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


occurring twice a year or every two years

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