patrol

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pa·trol / pəˈtrōl/ • n. a person or group of people sent to keep watch over an area, esp. a detachment of guards or police: a police patrol stopped the man and searched him. ∎  the 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. ∎  an expedition to carry out reconnaissance: we were ordered to investigate on a night patrol. ∎  a detachment of troops sent out to reconnoiter: you couldn't go through the country without meeting an enemy patrol. ∎  a routine operational voyage of a ship or aircraft: a submarine patrol. ∎  a unit of six to eight Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts forming part of a troop. • v. (-trolled , -trol·ling ) [tr.] keep watch over (an area) by regularly walking or traveling around or through it: the garrison had to patrol the streets to maintain order | [intr.] pairs of men were patrolling on each side of the thoroughfare. DERIVATIVES: pa·trol·ler n.

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patrol going the rounds of a camp, etc.; person or body that does this. XVII. — G. patro(ui)lle — F. patrouille, f. patrouiller (whence ult. patrol vb. XVII), alt. of patouiller paddle about in mud, f. patte paw, foot.

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Patrol

detachment of troops or police. See also guard.

Examples : patrol of cavalry, 1827; of soldiers, 1670.