Definition of patrol in English:


Syllabification: pa·trol
Pronunciation: /pəˈtrōl


  • 1A person or group of people sent to keep watch over an area, especially a detachment of guards or police: a police patrol stopped the man and searched him
    More example sentences
    • Extra police patrols were also sent out adding thousands to the wages bill.
    • More police foot patrols will be sent on to the streets at pub chucking-out time in a bid to cut violent crime.
    • It meant extra patrols had to be sent out and police stations kept open 24 hours a day.
  • 1.1The action of keeping watch over an area by walking or driving around it at regular intervals: the policemen were on patrol when they were ordered to investigate the incident
    More example sentences
    • On August 31, two U.S. solders were killed and a third wounded in the same area while on patrol.
    • It is understood a beach party was in full swing at the time and gardaí were on patrol in the area.
    • Imagine you are a sergeant taking a platoon of soldiers on patrol through rugged northern Australia.
  • 1.2An expedition to carry out reconnaissance: we were ordered to investigate on a night patrol
    More example sentences
    • He said the heightened joint police/army patrols and regular helicopter surveillance in the area was a contributing factor to the decline in criminal activity.
    • Security is maintained at the crematorium and regular patrols take place at night but it does not merit a CCTV system.
    • We work closely with the police who do regular patrols and take alcohol off kids found drinking.
    vigil, guard, watch, monitoring, policing, patrolling
  • 1.3A routine operational voyage of a ship or aircraft: a submarine patrol
    More example sentences
    • Three days later she sailed from Darwin to conduct routine patrols of Australia's northern waters and enforce the Australian Economic Exclusion Zone.
    • Apart from patrols at sea the ship has seen a number of significant events whilst on deployment.
    • During World War Two she served with the US Navy on anti-submarine patrols, convoy escort and even as the flagship of an amphibious assault group.
    security guard, sentry, sentinel, patrolman; scout, scouting party; border patrol
  • 1.4A unit of six to eight Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts forming part of a troop.
    More example sentences
    • Boys around the UK read ‘Scouting for Boys’ and spontaneously started to form scout patrols.

verb (patrols, patrolling, patrolled)

[with object] Back to top  
  • Keep watch over (an area) by regularly walking or traveling around or through it: the garrison had to patrol the streets to maintain order [no object]: pairs of men were patrolling on each side of the thoroughfare
    More example sentences
    • Two police officers patrolling the lot walked by a motor vehicle with two front seat occupants.
    • The area is patrolled regularly by both the divisional traffic unit and the district detective branch.
    • Police patrolled the area along the beachfront with other bomb detection devices.
    keep guard (on), guard, keep watch (on); police, make the rounds (of); stand guard (over), keep a vigil (on), defend, safeguard



More example sentences
  • The average team of patrollers will include a sergeant, six police constables and 12 traffic wardens and Community Support Officers.
  • Militia officials would select patrollers from each district's rolls to serve for designated periods.
  • Anyway, my father, long term wild life patroller, informed us that the rabbits were chewing away at the bark of our trees.


mid 17th century (as a noun): from German Patrolle, from French patrouille, from patrouiller 'paddle in mud', from patte 'paw' + dialect (gad)rouille 'dirty water'.

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