patrol

Definitions

General English

Law

  • noun a group of people who walk through an area to see what is happening

Military

  • noun a detachment of soldiers or vehicles sent out by a larger unit to carry out a specific task
  • noun a covert or overt task carried out by a small detachment of soldiers or vehicles
  • noun an act of walking or driving around an area on a regular basis in order to deter or prevent illegal or hostile activity
  • verb to carry out a patrol

Origin & History of “patrol”

what is now a reasonably dignified term began life as a colloquialism meaning ‘paddle about in mud’. English acquired the word via German from French patrouiller, which originally denoted ‘tramp around through the mud of a military campwhen doing guard duty, for instance’. this was an alteration of Old French patouiller ‘walk or trample in mud’, a verb based on the noun patte ‘paw’. other English words which trace their history back to patte are patois (17th c.) (which developed via the Old French verb patoier ‘trample on’, hence ‘treat roughly’, and originally meant ‘rough speech’) and patten ‘wooden shoe’ (14th c.).
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