1. [mid–late 16C] (UK Und.) a type of criminal activity [OF lei; ult. Lat. legem, law; synon. with lay n.3 (1)].
2. [18C+] (orig. US) constr. with the, the police.
3. [1910s+] with the article deliberately omitted, a police officer; occas. a private detective.
4. in attrib. use of sense 3.
5. [1940s+] (US prison) a prison warder.
[1970s] a police car.
[late 19C+] (US) a police officer.
[1960s+] a law-enforcement officer.
[late 19C–1940s] (US) a lawyer.
[1970s+] a police station.
[1950s] a police station.
see under down adv.2
[late 18C–mid-19C] to give someone a chance.