follow Dictionary.com

Is Tuesday named for a one-handed god?

police

[puh-lees] /pəˈlis/
noun
1.
Also called police force. an organized civil force for maintaining order, preventing and detecting crime, and enforcing the laws.
2.
(used with a plural verb) members of such a force:
Several police are patrolling the neighborhood.
3.
the regulation and control of a community, especially for the maintenance of public order, safety, health, morals, etc.
4.
the department of the government concerned with this, especially with the maintenance of order.
5.
any body of people officially maintained or employed to keep order, enforce regulations, etc.
6.
people who seek to regulate a specified activity, practice, etc.:
the language police.
7.
Military.
  1. the cleaning and keeping clean of a camp, post, station, etc.
  2. the condition of a camp, post, station, etc., with reference to cleanliness.
verb (used with object), policed, policing.
8.
to regulate, control, or keep in order by or as if by means of police.
9.
Military. to clean and keep clean (a camp, post, etc.)
Origin
1520-1530
1520-30; < Middle French: government, civil administration, police < Late Latin polītia citizenship, government, for Latin polītīa; see polity
Related forms
overpolice, verb (used with object), overpoliced, overpolicing.
prepolice, adjective
self-policing, adjective
unpoliced, adjective
well-policed, adjective
Pronunciation note
Many English words exemplify the original stress rule of Old English and other early Germanic languages, according to which all parts of speech except unprefixed verbs were stressed on the first syllable, and prefixed verbs were stressed on the syllable immediately following the prefix. Although the scope of this rule has been greatly restricted by the incorporation into English of loanwords that exhibit other stress patterns, the rule has always remained operative to some degree, and many loanwords have been conformed to it throughout the history of English. For South Midland and Midland U.S. speakers in particular, shifting the stress in borrowed nouns from a noninitial syllable to the first syllable is still an active process, yielding
[poh-lees] /ˈpoʊ lis/ (Show IPA)
for police and
[dee-troit] /ˈdi trɔɪt/
for Detroit, as well as cement, cigar, guitar, insurance, umbrella, and idea said as
[see-ment] /ˈsi mɛnt/
[see-gahr] /ˈsi gɑr/
[git-ahr] /ˈgɪt ɑr/
[in-shoo r-uh ns] /ˈɪn ʃʊər əns/
[uhm-brel-uh] /ˈʌm brɛl ə/
and
[ahy-deeuh] /ˈaɪ diə/
.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for police
  • Campus police officers have arrested two suspects and are looking for a third.
  • Six officers have been suspended after being accused of mistreating suspects last year, the police said.
  • Three police officers were called to the scene, wrestled the student to the floor, and arrested her.
  • The survey was compiled with the help of farmers, police officers, and other observers.
  • Yet the facts show that these police officers are doing a terrific job.
  • police officers and prosecutors have suppressed evidence.
  • In my area two white police officers were shot and killed as an aftermath of a traffic stop several weeks ago.
  • Bartenders, police officers, and hospital workers routinely identify drunks by their slurred speech.
  • Introduction to the department's mission and the police officers who carry out that mission.
  • police vans, full of more officers and some equipped with water cannons, waited behind them.
British Dictionary definitions for police

police

/pəˈliːs/
noun
1.
  1. the police, the organized civil force of a state, concerned with maintenance of law and order, the detection and prevention of crime, etc
  2. (as modifier): a police inquiry
2.
(functioning as pl) the members of such a force collectively
3.
any organized body with a similar function: security police
4.
(archaic)
  1. the regulation and control of a community, esp in regard to the enforcement of law, the prevention of crime, etc
  2. the department of government concerned with this
verb (transitive)
5.
to regulate, control, or keep in order by means of a police or similar force
6.
to observe or record the activity or enforcement of: a committee was set up to police the new agreement on picketing
7.
(US) to make or keep (a military camp, etc) clean and orderly
Word Origin
C16: via French from Latin polītīa administration, government; see polity
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for police
n.

c.1530, at first essentially the same word as policy (n.1); from Middle French police (late 15c.), from Latin politia "civil administration," from Greek polis "city" (see polis).

Until mid-19c. used in England for "civil administration;" application to "administration of public order" (1716) is from French (late 17c.), and originally in English referred to France or other foreign nations. The first force so-named in England was the Marine Police, set up 1798 to protect merchandise at the Port of London. Police state "state regulated by means of national police" first recorded 1865, with reference to Austria. Police action in the international sense of "military intervention short of war, ostensibly to correct lawlessness" is from 1933. Police officer is attested from 1800. Police station is from 1817.

v.

"to keep order in," 1580s, from Middle French policer, from police (see police (n.)). Meaning "to keep order by means of police" is from 1837. Related: Policed; policing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for police

police

v,v phr

To clean up a camp, barracks, parade ground, etc; make neat and orderly (1851+ Army)


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for police

All English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for police

10
13
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with police

Nearby words for police