[ puh-lees ]
/ pəˈlis /
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See synonyms for: police / policed / polices / policing on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), po·liced, po·lic·ing.
to regulate, control, or keep in order by or as if by means of police.
Military. to clean and keep clean (a camp, post, etc.)
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Origin of police

1520–30; <Middle French: government, civil administration, police <Late Latin polītia citizenship, government, for Latin polītīa;see polity

how to pronounce police

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/ 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-shoor-uhns], /ˈɪn ʃʊər əns/, [uhm-brel-uh], /ˈʌm brɛl ə/, and [ahy-deeuh]. /ˈaɪ diə/.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use police in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for police

/ (pəˈliːs) /

  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
(functioning as plural) the members of such a force collectively
any organized body with a similar functionsecurity police
  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 (tr)

Word Origin for police

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