I have just heard a mother talking about her problematic young son in S1E02 of the TV series "Unité 42", produced in Belgium:

  • Je passais mon temps à le chercher au poste.

If I understood right, "poste" means "jail" here. In the Word Reference dictionary, the only definition of "poste" as "jail" is in the expression "embarquer qqn au poste". Is the usage of "poste" as "jail" in the sentence above (chercher qqn au poste) a Belgium regionalism or is it also used in other French-speaking countries?

  • 4
    In means "poste de police", which is the police station. A lot of people are taken there to do what we call a "garde à vue", a short detention that lasts between 24 hours and a few days.
    – Reyedy
    Jun 3, 2020 at 13:45
  • 2
    Please, don't write comments to provide an answer. Use comments to ask for more information or clarify a question or answer.
    – user19460
    Jun 3, 2020 at 19:00

1 Answer 1


Despite her son may have been put behind bars, "poste" is not exactly a "jail": it is an abbreviation for "poste de police" ("police station") like "precinct" may be an abbreviation for "precinct station".

"Poste" is widely used in France too.

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