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[pree-singkt] /ˈpri sɪŋkt/
a district, as of a city, marked out for governmental or administrative purposes, or for police protection.
Also called precinct house. the police station in such a district.
Also called election district. one of a fixed number of districts, each containing one polling place, into which a city, town, etc., is divided for voting purposes.
a space or place of definite or understood limits.
Often, precincts. an enclosing boundary or limit.
precincts, the parts or regions immediately surrounding a place; environs:
the precincts of a town.
Chiefly British. the ground immediately surrounding a church, temple, or the like.
a walled or otherwise bounded or limited space within which a building or place is situated.
Origin of precinct
1350-1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin praecinctum, noun use of neuter of Latin praecinctus, past participle of praecingere to gird about, surround, equivalent to prae- pre- + cing- (stem of cingere to surround; cf. cinch1) + -tus past participle suffix
1. ward. 4. territory. 8. compound. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for precinct
  • They attended panels on precinct organising and campaign finance.
  • Exclusion of cars from downtown has made a wonderful walking precinct and lots of opportunity for outdoor dining.
  • Here they deliver the alms and prayers they have collected during their treks to the saint's precinct.
  • Politically, we'll expand the great work of our precinct leader program.
  • Police officers will file reports directly from their patrol cars while parked close to a precinct house.
  • Back at a local precinct house, there was a recruiting drive underway, to hire more cops and neighborhood watchmen.
  • They don't go out and buy crack and take it to the nearest precinct.
  • Her colleagues described her as capable at computer work, and she collected crime statistics for the precinct.
  • The process has four steps: the precinct caucuses, the county conventions, the district conventions and the state convention.
  • Their votes were tallied by hand at the precinct, municipal, provincial and finally national levels.
British Dictionary definitions for precinct


  1. an enclosed area or building marked by a fixed boundary such as a wall
  2. such a boundary
an area in a town, often closed to traffic, that is designed or reserved for a particular purpose: a shopping precinct, pedestrian precinct
  1. a district of a city for administrative or police purposes
  2. the police responsible for such a district
(US) a polling or electoral district
Word Origin
C15: from Medieval Latin praecinctum (something) surrounded, from Latin praecingere to gird around, from prae before, around + cingere to gird
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
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Word Origin and History for precinct

c.1400, prasaynt (mid-15c. as precincte), "district defined for purposes of government or representation," from Medieval Latin precinctum "enclosure, boundary line," noun use of neuter past participle of Latin praecingere "to gird about, surround," from prae- "before" (see pre-) + cingere "to surround, encircle" (see cinch (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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