Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The act of moving about an area especially by an authorized and trained person or group, for purposes of observation, inspection, or security.
  • n. A person or group of persons who perform such an act.
  • n. A military unit sent out on a reconnaissance or combat mission.
  • n. One or more military vehicles, boats, ships, or aircraft assigned to guard or reconnoiter a given area.
  • n. A division of a Boy Scout troop or Girl Scout troop consisting of between six and eight children.
  • transitive v. To engage in a patrol of.
  • intransitive v. To engage in a patrol.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A going of the rounds along the chain of sentinels and between the posts, by a guard, usually consisting of three or four men, to insure greater security from attacks on the outposts.
  • n. A movement, by a small body of troops beyond the line of outposts, to explore the country and gain intelligence of the enemy's whereabouts.
  • n. The guard or men who go the rounds for observation; a detachment whose duty it is to patrol.
  • n. Any perambulation of a particular line or district to guard it; also, the men thus guarding; as, a customs patrol; a fire patrol.
  • n. A unit of a troop, typically composed of around eight boys.
  • v. To go the rounds along a chain of sentinels; to traverse a police district or beat.
  • v. To go the rounds of, as a sentry, guard, or policeman; as, to patrol a frontier; to patrol a beat.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n.
  • n. A going of the rounds along the chain of sentinels and between the posts, by a guard, usually consisting of three or four men, to insure greater security from attacks on the outposts.
  • n. A movement, by a small body of troops beyond the line of outposts, to explore the country and gain intelligence of the enemy's whereabouts.
  • n. The guard or men who go the rounds for observation; a detachment whose duty it is to patrol.
  • n. Any perambulation of a particular line or district to guard it; also, the men thus guarding
  • n. See Boy Scout.
  • intransitive v. To go the rounds along a chain of sentinels; to traverse a police district or beat.
  • transitive v. To go the rounds of, as a sentry, guard, or policeman

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To go the rounds in a camp or garrison; march about in order to check disorder or irregularities, as a guard.
  • To go the rounds in a city, as a body of police.
  • To perambulate or traverse in all directions, as a patrol in a camp, garrison, town, harbor, etc., for the purpose of watching, guarding, or protecting; go over or through in all directions as a patrolman.
  • n. A walking or marching round, as in a camp, garrison, town, or other place, in order to watch and protect it.
  • n. The guard or persons who thus go the rounds; specifically, a police constable whose duty it is to perambulate a “beat” or district for a certain number of hours, for the protection of life and property, and the preservation of the peace; also, such constables collectively.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. maintain the security of by carrying out a patrol
  • n. a detachment used for security or reconnaissance
  • n. a group that goes through a region at regular intervals for the purpose of security
  • n. the activity of going around or through an area at regular intervals for security purposes

Etymologies

French patrouille, from patrouiller, to patrol, alteration of Old French patouiller, to paddle about in mud, patrol, probably from pate, paw; see patois.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French patrouille, from Old French patrouille, patouille ("a night-watch", literally "a tramping about"), from patrouiller, patouiller, patoiller ("to paddle or pudder in water, dabble with the feet, begrime, besmear"), from patte, pate ("paw, foot of an animal"), from Vulgar Latin *patta (“paw, foot”), from Frankish *patta (“paw, sole of the foot”), from Proto-Germanic *paþjanan, *paþōnan (“to walk, tread, go, step, pace”), possibly from Proto-Indo-European *(s)pent-, *(s)pat- (“path; to walk”), a variant of Proto-Indo-European *pent-, *pat- (“path; to go”); see find. Cognate with Dutch pad, patte ("paw"), Low German pedden ("to step, tread"), German patschen ("to splash, smack, dabble, waddle"), German Patsche ("a swatter, beater, paw, puddle, mire"). Related to pad, path. (Wiktionary)
From French patrouiller, from Old French patrouiller ("to paddle, paw about, patrol"), from patte ("a paw") (Wiktionary)

Examples

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