1. a district, as of a city, marked out for governmental or administrative purposes, or for police protection.
  2. Also called precinct house. the police station in such a district.
  3. Also called election district. one of a fixed number of districts, each containing one polling place, into which a city, town, etc., is divided for voting purposes.
  4. a space or place of definite or understood limits.
  5. Often precincts. an enclosing boundary or limit.
  6. precincts, the parts or regions immediately surrounding a place; environs: the precincts of a town.
  7. Chiefly British. the ground immediately surrounding a church, temple, or the like.
  8. a walled or otherwise bounded or limited space within which a building or place is situated.

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. 2018

Examples from the Web for precincts

Contemporary Examples of precincts

Historical Examples of precincts

British Dictionary definitions for precincts


pl n
  1. the surrounding region or area


    1. an enclosed area or building marked by a fixed boundary such as a wall
    2. such a boundary
  1. an area in a town, often closed to traffic, that is designed or reserved for a particular purposea shopping precinct; pedestrian precinct
  2. US
    1. a district of a city for administrative or police purposes
    2. the police responsible for such a district
  3. 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 precincts



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