Possible Antedatings of Modern Sense of "Police"

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sun Nov 4 15:32:51 UTC 2012

police (OED3, 5.a., 1798)

It seems that some of the early citations in OED for word-combinations with _police_ as the first element, may be usages of police 5.a.  Examples include citations for _police runner_ (1782), _police officer_ (1784), _police constable_ (1787), _police department_ (1787), _police establishment_ (1788), etc.

Fred Shapiro

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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