police state


a nation in which the police, especially a secret police, summarily suppresses any social, economic, or political act that conflicts with governmental policy.

Origin of police state

First recorded in 1860–65
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for police state

despotism, totalitarianism

Examples from the Web for police state

Contemporary Examples of police state

  • The police-state system expanded beyond the Arabs to Iran and Pakistan and other Muslim states.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The End of Arab Police States?

    Bruce Riedel

    April 23, 2011

British Dictionary definitions for police state

police state


a state or country in which a repressive government maintains control through the 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

police state in Culture

police state

A nation whose rulers maintain order and obedience by the threat of police or military force; one with a brutal, arbitrary government.

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.