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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for precincts
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was almost as if they had entirely vanished from the precincts of the valley.

    The Law-Breakers Ridgwell Cullum
  • At a particular election 3,000 persons vote in five of the precincts.

    The Electoral Votes of 1876

    David Dudley Field
  • For the rest, he rarely if ever left the precincts of his home.

  • Here the trail was not so good as in the precincts of the village.

    The Hound From The North Ridgwell Cullum
  • Just as it might be it could learn something from us; and since it was here in our precincts, it had got to learn.

    The Prisoner Alice Brown
British Dictionary definitions for precincts


plural noun
the surrounding region or area


  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 precincts



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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