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

Synonyms for precinct

1. ward. 4. territory. 8. compound. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for precinct

Contemporary Examples of precinct

Historical Examples of precinct

  • On one of these nights the Captain of the Precinct was present in plain clothes.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • While they hold office, they shall dwell within the precinct of the God.



  • The temple, it is true, often stood within some sort of precinct, but it was accessible to all.


    Thomas Roger Smith

  • Hundreds of precinct meetings were held during the whole summer.

  • It was not a legal duty, for law had not yet penetrated into the precinct of the Family.

    Ancient Law

    Sir Henry James Sumner Maine

British Dictionary definitions for precinct



  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 purposea 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 for precinct

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

Word Origin and History for precinct

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