Definition of patrol in English:

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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;
1.4A unit of six to eight Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts forming part of a troop.
Example sentences
  • Boys around the UK read ‘Scouting for Boys’ and spontaneously started to form scout patrols.

verb (patrols, patrolling, patrolled)

[with object]
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



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'.

  • The unpleasant side of military life is brought to the fore by patrol. It comes, via German, from French patrouille, from patrouiller ‘paddle in mud’. This in turn was formed from patte ‘paw’ and dialect (gad)rouille ‘dirty water’.

Words that rhyme with patrol

barcarole, bole, bowl, cajole, coal, Cole, condole, console, control, dhole, dole, droll, enrol (US enroll), extol, foal, goal, hole, Joel, knoll, kohl, mol, mole, Nicole, parol, parole, pole, poll, prole, rôle, roll, scroll, Seoul, shoal, skoal, sole, soul, stole, stroll, thole, Tirol, toad-in-the-hole, toll, troll, vole, whole

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pa·trol

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