A precinct is an area of town marked off for official purposes, often to vote, or to organize the police force. When a cop hears of a crime that's happening in her precinct, she knows to hop in her car and head over there.

The word precinct comes from the Latin precinctum meaning "enclosure, boundary line." A precinct is an area that has a clear boundary line around it, making it easier for the police to know where a crime is taking place, or where you should go to vote. The word precinct has also come to mean police headquarters in a particular district. If you're being held at the precinct, you're at the police station local to where you committed your crime.

Definitions of precinct
  1. noun
    a district of a city or town marked out for administrative purposes
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    police precinct
    a precinct in which law enforcement is the responsibility of particular police force
    election district, voting precinct
    one of several districts into which a city or town is divided for voting; each contains one polling place
    type of:
    city district
    a district of a town or city
  2. noun
    a precinct in which law enforcement is the responsibility of particular police force
    synonyms: police precinct
  3. noun
    a station that serves as headquarters for police in a particular district; serves as a place from which policemen are dispatched and to which arrested persons are brought
    synonyms: police headquarters, police station, station house
    see moresee less
    type of:
    a facility equipped with special equipment and personnel for a particular purpose
Word Family
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