[puh-trohl-muh n]

noun, plural pa·trol·men.

a police officer who is assigned to patrol a specific district, route, etc.
a person who patrols.

Origin of patrolman

An Americanism dating back to 1840–50; patrol + -man

Usage note

See -man. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for patrolman

Contemporary Examples of patrolman

Historical Examples of patrolman

  • Finally the patrolman announced one morning that there was no other way out of it.

    Mayflower (Flor de mayo)

    Vicente Blasco Ibez

  • The patrolman says that he has seen no light in the house since the family sailed for Africa.

    The Lure of the Mask

    Harold MacGrath

  • There was no time now to seek out the patrolman on the post; the job must be all his.

    From Place to Place

    Irvin S. Cobb

  • During that time, he'd expected the sound of shots from the patrolman's gun.

    Ten From Infinity

    Paul W. Fairman

  • "Got some kid back in the tank, or somewhere," the patrolman said.

    Out Like a Light

    Gordon Randall Garrett

British Dictionary definitions for patrolman


noun plural -men

mainly US a man, esp a policeman, who patrols a certain area
British a man employed to patrol an area to help motorists in difficulty
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 patrolman

"police constable on a particular beat," 1841, from patrol (n.) + man (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper