Definition of patrol in English:



  • 1An expedition to keep watch over an area, especially by guards or police walking or driving around at regular intervals.

    ‘we were ordered to investigate on a night patrol’
    • ‘Marines conducted foot patrols and sent out sniper teams to intercept would be attackers.’
    • ‘The military carries out regular security patrols in Unionist and Loyalist areas on foot or in police or army vehicles.’
    • ‘If the police carried out regular patrols during the weekend then it would improve the situation on the estate.’
    • ‘Security is maintained at the crematorium and regular patrols take place at night but it does not merit a CCTV system.’
    • ‘In addition to liaising with the Coast Guard for coastal patrols, detectives are also monitoring known access routes used by traffickers.’
    • ‘It is subject to routine checks by a town-run security service, and also lies on the route of regular police patrols.’
    • ‘The shootings erupted at about 1 a.m. as two officers were on a routine patrol in the city's west end.’
    • ‘On Friday and Saturday nights there are also regular security patrols.’
    • ‘Eight motorists were arrested and charged with driving under the influence of liquor during routine patrols.’
    • ‘The new units will be lightly trained, to carry out tasks like guard duty and border patrols, rather than raids and weapons sweeps.’
    • ‘Regular staff and police patrols are being made on the estate and any reported incidents of damage or nuisance will be taken up by the police.’
    • ‘Regular patrols by city centre wardens and police community support officers are also being made throughout college and university campuses.’
    • ‘The police have stepped up patrols in the area and have made a number of arrests, but for public disorder offences rather than criminal damage.’
    • ‘Ask them to make your facilities part of their routine daily safety patrols.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is because of the presence of this rebel group in the area that the night patrols have been intensified as a security measure.’
    • ‘To accomplish these goals, the battalion dispatched patrols at irregular intervals, keeping bandits guessing as to when they would occur.’
    • ‘It's the responsibility of the transport police but there are no regular patrols and no CCTV.’
    • ‘Plans also include extra police patrols and security patrols.’
    • ‘We work closely with the police who do regular patrols and take alcohol off kids found drinking.’
    vigil, guard, watch, monitoring, policing, beat, beat-pounding, patrolling, round, sentry duty
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    1. 1.1A person or group of people sent to keep watch over an area.
      ‘a police patrol stopped the man and searched him’
      • ‘We sent three patrols to escort the fire brigade which ties up our resources if a more serious incident takes place at the other end of town.’
      • ‘So, if they haven't indicted him, they're not sending out search patrols for him?’
      • ‘Also, many small patrols shall have been sent out over the previous weeks.’
      • ‘More police foot patrols will be sent on to the streets at pub chucking-out time in a bid to cut violent crime.’
      • ‘New Malden's safer neighbourhood team will deploy extra patrols to the area following the incident.’
      • ‘Well, she went out walking alone one night and she ran into a patrol of guards.’
      • ‘They are conducting door to door inquiries and have doubled high visibility night time police patrols in the area to reassure worried residents.’
      • ‘I was so absorbed in my thoughts that suddenly I walked straight into a patrol guard coming back from the chase.’
      • ‘Extra police patrols were also sent out adding thousands to the wages bill.’
      • ‘In this manner he watched two patrols walk under him, completely unaware of his presence.’
      • ‘The bureau confirmed their suspicions when it sent patrols into the countryside to round up deserters and men subject to conscription.’
      • ‘Finding nothing, patrols were sent out to expand the search area.’
      • ‘They are also offering to send out rubbish patrols after closing to pick up bottles, flyers and food wrappings in the immediate vicinity of the premises.’
      • ‘We asked the ski patrols to send us their accident report forms every two or three weeks.’
      • ‘We need more police patrols in the area to stop this vandalism and I think the police are doing this.’
      • ‘He next turns up at 4 am when a Garda patrol stops him in the town centre and ask him his date of birth which he gives before they send him on his way.’
      • ‘It meant extra patrols had to be sent out and police stations kept open 24 hours a day.’
      • ‘But a couple of years ago, a police dog patrol was sent out to bring in a mentally disturbed person from a forest.’
    2. 1.2The 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’
      • ‘Six months after that, he was on patrol when another sniper opened up.’
      • ‘There is now 24 hour surveillance and uniformed wardens on patrol which has improved the situation somewhat.’
      • ‘The school has decided to put more teachers on patrol at break time to watch the children.’
      • ‘If we try to do so, we cannot provide the commander with the quality of intelligence that we, as a community, owe to both him and the soldiers on patrol.’
      • ‘Plainclothes and uniformed officers will be on patrol to prevent would-be troublemakers boarding flights.’
      • ‘It is understood a beach party was in full swing at the time and gardaí were on patrol in the area.’
      • ‘The five men were detained Sunday after military officers on patrol found traces of blood leading to their houses, he said.’
      • ‘Officers on patrol just happened to be passing and made the arrest.’
      • ‘Heavily armed police and sniffer dogs were on patrol.’
      • ‘When not on patrol, resting or at the range, crews can be found cleaning, fitting, adjusting and testing the systems integral to these platforms.’
      • ‘We have not objected to any of the applications and we are not planning to have any extra bobbies on patrol for the rugby games.’
      • ‘Imagine you are a sergeant taking a platoon of soldiers on patrol through rugged northern Australia.’
      • ‘The shift inspectors whose officers I had observed on patrol over many months offered either to escort me personally or provide a constable for the purpose.’
      • ‘While on patrol, we continued to conduct random checks of these locations as well as provide equipment and salaries for the guards.’
      • ‘I did my best to try to reassure him that it was highly unlikely that he would suffer another attack the next time he went out on patrol.’
      • ‘Armed officers have been deployed on patrol to protect the community and their unarmed colleagues.’
      • ‘On August 31, two U.S. solders were killed and a third wounded in the same area while on patrol.’
      • ‘The policeman on patrol is primarily a ‘peace officer’ rather than a ‘law officer’.’
      • ‘The force is offering people the chance to accompany their local constable on patrol to see what it is really like at the cutting edge of crime-fighting.’
      • ‘All our crew knew was that someone had been shot in the face while on patrol.’
    3. 1.3A routine operational voyage of a ship or aircraft.
      ‘a submarine patrol’
      • ‘The decision to commence the naval and air patrols came 24 hours after two very important happenings for the RAN.’
      • ‘Apart from patrols at sea the ship has seen a number of significant events whilst on deployment.’
      • ‘We continued our patrol looking for German aircraft.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘British submarines conducted 2,223 patrols in home waters, the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Far East.’
      • ‘Active duty airmen joined the patrols in the 1970s.’
      • ‘Three days later she sailed from Darwin to conduct routine patrols of Australia's northern waters and enforce the Australian Economic Exclusion Zone.’
      • ‘He argued that the shah remained a threat to the islands despite diplomatic warnings and air and naval patrols.’
      patrolman, patrolwoman, sentinel, sentry, garrison, defender
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  • 2A unit of six to eight Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts forming part of a troop.

    • ‘Boys around the UK read ‘Scouting for Boys’ and spontaneously started to form scout patrols.’


  • 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’
    • ‘All incidents are being logged by residents, and the crime and disorder team have been patrolling the area.’
    • ‘Extra police officers are now patrolling the streets to combat the thieves.’
    • ‘Unformed officers patrolled areas around the town centre where people often parked cars for the whole day while at work.’
    • ‘The two men parked a block down the street and they took turns patrolling the area.’
    • ‘The estate is patrolled by ex-soldiers who are helping to restore law and order.’
    • ‘The cemetery gates are locked and the cemetery is patrolled regularly.’
    • ‘Two villagers who took care of him said he hid in a closet when the police patrolled the area.’
    • ‘The conservation area would be patrolled by rangers recruited from local communities.’
    • ‘Mounted police and dog handlers patrolled the streets and a large number of officers in riot gear were deployed outside the station.’
    • ‘Police patrolled the streets and arrested about 10 vendors who were selling fireworks.’
    • ‘The area is patrolled regularly by both the divisional traffic unit and the district detective branch.’
    • ‘Green-uniformed riot police patrolled the streets or sat in parked trucks.’
    • ‘At least a dozen police officers, some of them mounted, were patrolling the venue and its surrounding area.’
    • ‘Police patrolled the area along the beachfront with other bomb detection devices.’
    • ‘Two police officers patrolling the lot walked by a motor vehicle with two front seat occupants.’
    • ‘Soldiers had set up posts near the village and regularly patrolled it.’
    • ‘All sites are regularly patrolled by the litter wardens and illegal dumping will not be tolerated.’
    • ‘Generic tasks will include curfew checks and patrolling trouble spot areas.’
    • ‘They had forgotten that the night security officer patrolled the area until midnight.’
    • ‘Police spent most of Friday night patrolling the area in the hope of finding the getaway car.’
    police, walk along, walk round
    picket, cover, monitor, defend, safeguard
    cruise, pound, prowl, rove, roam
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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.