- præcinct (chiefly obsolete)
Middle English early 15th century, in sense of “district for government purposes”, from Medieval Latin precinctum, alternative form of praecinctum (“enclosure, boundary line”), neuter singular of praecinctus, perfect passive participle of Latin praecingō (“surround, gird”), from prae (“before”) + cingō (“surround, encircle”), from which also cinch.
Cognate to Italian precingere (“to encircle”).
- (chiefly in the plural) An enclosed space having defined limits, normally marked by walls.
- (UK) A pedestrianized and uncovered shopping area.
- (US, law enforcement) A subdivision of a city under the jurisdiction of a specific group of police; the police station situated in that district.
- (US) A subdivision of a city or town for the purposes of voting and representation in city or town government. In cities, precincts may be grouped into wards.