General English


  • noun a group of people who keep law and order in a country or town


  • noun a civil organization responsible for the maintenance of law and order within a state
  • verb to control an area using police officers or soldiers


  • noun the official group of people who keep law and order in a country
  • verb to keep law and order in a place
  • verb to make sure that regulations or guidelines are carried out

Origin & History of “police”

Etymologically, the police are in charge of the administration of a ‘city’. In fact, police is essentially the same word as policy ‘plan of action’. both go back to Latin polītīa ‘civil administration’, a descendant of Greek pólis ‘city’. In medieval Latin a variant polītia emerged, which became French police. English took it over, and at first continued to use it for ‘civil administration’ (Edmund burke as late as 1791 described the Turks as ‘a barbarous nation, with a barbarous neglect of police, fatal to the human race’). Its specific application to the administration of public order emerged in France in the early 18th century, and the first body of public-order officers to be named police in England was the marine Police, a force set up around 1798 to protect merchandise in the port of London.