When a person or a group monitors a specific area, that's a patrol. A police officer's night patrol might involve walking a beat on certain city streets.

A patrol is the activity of watching a neighborhood or region, and also refers to the person or group doing the watching. And when you join such a group, you can say you patrol. Your neighborhood watch group might patrol the town in groups of three, driving up and down the streets keeping an eye out for suspicious activity. The French patrouille, "a night watch," comes from patrouiller, "go the rounds," and originally "tramp trough the mud."

Definitions of patrol

n the activity of going around or through an area at regular intervals for security purposes

airborne patrol
a patrol provided by aircraft
round-the-clock patrol
a continuous nonstop patrol
Type of:
the activity of protecting someone or something

n a group that goes through a region at regular intervals for the purpose of security

border patrol
a group of officers who patrol the borders of a country
harbor patrol
patrol of officers who police a harbor area
Type of:
force, personnel
group of people willing to obey orders

n a detachment used for security or reconnaissance

Type of:
a small unit of troops of special composition

v maintain the security of by carrying out a patrol

Type of:
to keep watch over

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