[guh-stah-poh; German guh-shtah-poh]
the German state secret police during the Nazi regime, organized in 1933 and notorious for its brutal methods and operations.
(sometimes lowercase) of or resembling the Nazi Gestapo, especially in the brutal suppression of opposition: The new regime is using gestapo tactics.

< German Ge(heime) Sta(ats)po(lizei) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
Gestapo (ɡɛˈstɑːpəʊ, German ɡeˈʃtaːpo)
the secret state police in Nazi Germany, noted for its brutal methods of interrogation
[from German Ge(heime) Sta(ats)po(lizei), literally: secret state police]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1934, from Ger. Gestapo, from "Geheime Staats-polizei," lit. "secret state police," set up by Hermann Göring in Prussia in 1933, extended to all Germany in January 1934.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
Gestapo [(guh-stah-poh, guh-shtah-poh)]

The secret police of the Third Reich in Germany. The Gestapo operated against Germans suspected of treason by using brutal interrogation and torture; they instilled widespread fear by their terrorist methods.

Note: “Gestapo tactics” in general are intimidating official procedures.
Note: Figuratively, any brutal secret police organization may be called a “gestapo.”
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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