[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.


Origin of Gestapo

< German Ge(heime) Sta(ats)po(lizei) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for gestapo



the secret state police in Nazi Germany, noted for its brutal methods of interrogation

Word Origin for Gestapo

from German Ge (heime) Sta (ats) po (lizei), literally: secret state police
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

Word Origin and History for gestapo


Nazi secret state police, 1934, from German Gestapo, contracted from "Geheime Staats-polizei," literally "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

Culture definitions for 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.


“Gestapo tactics” in general are intimidating official procedures.


Figuratively, any brutal secret police organization may be called a “gestapo.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.