The part of a town that is under the control of one particular division of a police department is an example of a precinct.
- [usually pl.] an enclosure between buildings, walls, etc.
- Brit. the grounds immediately surrounding a religious house or church
- [pl.] environs; a neighborhood
- a division of a city, as for police administration
- a subdivision of a ward, as for voting purposes
- Brit. an area in a town closed to motor traffic, as for shopping
- any limited area, as of thought
- a boundary
Origin of precinctMiddle English precincte from Medieval Latin praecinctum from Classical Latin praecinctus, past participle of praecingere, to encompass from prae-, before (see pre-) + cingere, to surround, gird (see cinch)
- a. A subdivision or district of a city or town under the jurisdiction of or patrolled by a specific unit of its police force.b. The police station situated in and having jurisdiction over such a district.
- An election district of a city or town.
- often precincts a. A place or enclosure marked off by definite limits, such as walls: the mysterious precincts of the old monastery.b. A boundary: Hunting is not allowed within the precincts of the estate.
- precincts The neighborhood or surrounding area; the environs.
- often precincts An area of thought or action; a province or domain: “It was in these spacious precincts that Dryden's imagination was most at home” ( Mark Van Doren )
Origin of precinctMiddle English precincte a defined district or area from Medieval Latin praecīnctum from Latin neuter past participle of praecingere to encircle prae- pre- cingere to gird ; see kenk- in Indo-European roots.
- (chiefly in the plural) An enclosed space having defined limits, normally marked by walls.
- (UK) A pedestrianized and uncovered shopping area.
- (US, law enforcement) A subdivision of a city under the jurisdiction of a specific group of police; the police station situated in that district.
- (US) A subdivision of a city or town for the purposes of voting and representation in city or town government. In cities, precincts may be grouped into wards.
Middle English early 15th century, in sense of “district for government purposes", from Medieval Latin precinctum, alternative form of praecinctum (“enclosure, boundary line"), neuter singular of praecinctus, perfect passive participle of Latin praecingÅ (“surround, gird"), from prae (“before") + cingÅ (“surround, encircle"), from which also cinch.
Cognate to Italian precingere (“to encircle").