pre·​cinct | \ ˈprē-ˌsiŋ(k)t How to pronounce precinct (audio) \

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

Voting results from several precincts are delayed. They were taken to the precinct for questioning.
Recent Examples on the Web On the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, former President Trump visited the New York City Police Department’s 17th precinct in Manhattan’s Midtown East neighborhood. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 13 Sep. 2021 Mike Neil, Marlowe’s stepfather, had just finished working a midnight shift as a favor to another sergeant at the 75th precinct. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, 10 Sep. 2021 This is an authoritarian precinct ruled by racist cops. Washington Post, 22 Aug. 2021 With fewer officers working and thus fewer officers trying to meet their arrest quotas, the precinct made fewer overall arrests, including false arrests. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, 19 Aug. 2021 She was initially pulled over at 11 p.m. by officers from the Baltimore County Police Department's Essex precinct for speeding. Fox News, 31 July 2021 With 63 officers working in this new precinct of 10.85 square miles, there will be about one public safety officer per 1,000 residents in Taylorsville. Alixel Cabrera, The Salt Lake Tribune, 9 July 2021 One provision wholly rejects ballots cast in the wrong precinct. Ariane De Vogue, CNN, 4 Aug. 2021 The Supreme Court, in a decision divided along ideological lines with conservatives in the majority, recently upheld a pair of Arizona rules governing the collection of mail ballots and disallowing votes cast in the wrong precinct. Alexa Corse, WSJ, 13 July 2021

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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Time Traveler for precinct

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near precinct



precinct captain

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Last Updated

20 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Precinct.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for precinct



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 How to pronounce precinct (audio) \

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on precinct

Nglish: Translation of precinct for Spanish Speakers


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