- The definition of politics are the methods and tactics used to run a government or an organization.
An example of politics is a government official who is backed by big oil companies.
- the science and art of political government; political science
- political affairs
- the conducting of or participation in political affairs, often as a profession
- political methods, tactics, etc.; sometimes, specif., crafty or unprincipled methods
- political opinions, principles, or party connections
- factional scheming for power and status within a group: office politics
Origin of politicspolit(ic) + -ics
- (used with a sing. verb)a. The art or science of government or governing, especially the governing of a political entity, such as a nation, and the administration and control of its internal and external affairs.b. Political science.
- (used with a sing. or pl. verb)a. The activities or affairs engaged in by a government, politician, or political party: “Our politics has been corrupted by money and suffused with meanness” (Peter Edelman). “Politics have appealed to me since I was at Oxford because they are exciting morning, noon, and night” (Jeffrey Archer).b. The methods or tactics involved in managing a state or government: The politics of the former regime were rejected by the new government leadership. If the politics of the conservative government now borders on the repressive, what can be expected when the economy falters?
- (used with a sing. or pl. verb) Political life: studied law with a view to going into politics; felt that politics was a worthwhile career.
- (used with a sing. or pl. verb) Intrigue or maneuvering within a political unit or a group in order to gain control or power: Partisan politics is often an obstruction to good government. Office politics are often debilitating and counterproductive.
- (used with a sing. or pl. verb) Political attitudes and positions: His politics on that issue is his own business. Your politics are clearly more liberal than mine.
- (used with a sing. or pl. verb) The often internally conflicting interrelationships among people in a society.
See also government.activism the attitude of taking an active part in events, especially in a social context. —activist, n. agrarianism the doctrine of an equal division of landed property and the advancement of agricultural groups. Also called agrarian reform. —agrarian, adj. analytical stasiology an attempt, through the construction of conceptual frameworks, to develop a science of political parties. anticivism opposition to doctrines on citizenship, especially those promulgated in France during the French Revolution. —anticivic, adj. anti-Jacobinism opposition to the Jacobins, one of the revolutionary parties of the French revolution; by extension, the term denotes opposition to the French Revolution and any of its supporters. —anti-Jacobin, n. antimilitarism the quality of being opposed to the establishment or maintenance of a governmental military force. —antimilitarist, n. —antimilitaristic, adj. antiterrorism the techniques, policies, and training of special police who deal with terrorists, especially those who take hostages. —antiterrorist, adj. anythingarianism the holding of no particular belief, creed, or political position. Cf. nothingarianism. —anythingarian, n. Arabism a devotion to Arab interests, custom, culture, ideals, and political goals. Arnoldist a follower of Arnold of Brescia, 12th-century Italian political reformer, especially his attacks upon clerical riches and corruption and upon the temporal power of the pope. autonomy independent self-rule free from outside influence. Babouvism a social and political doctrine advocating egalitarianism and communism. —Babouvist, n. bipartisanism the state of being composed of members of two parties or of two parties cooperating, as in government. —bipartisan, adj. Boloism the practice, during war, of promoting propaganda and defeatist activities favoring an enemy country. Bonapartism 1. support of the actions and doctrines of Napoleon Bonaparte. 2. the desire for a leader to emulate Napoleon Bonaparte. —Bonapartist, n. boodleism U.S. Slang, the practice of bribery or illicit payments, especially to or from a politician. Also boodling. —boodier, n. bossism U.S. a control by bosses, especially political bosses. Bourbonism 1. an adherence to the ideas and system of government developed by the Bourbons. 2. an extreme conservatism, especially in politics. —Bourbonist, n. —Bourbonian, Bourbonic, adj. brinkmanship, brinksmanship the technique or practice in foreign policy of manipulating a dangerous situation to the limits of tolerance or safety in order to secure advantage, especially by creating diplomatic crises. Caesarism the characteristics shown by a dictatorship or imperial authority. —Caesarist, n. capitalism a theory or system in which property and investment in busines; are owned and controlled by individuals directly or through ownership of shares in companies. Cf. communism. —capitalist, n., adj. —capitalistic, adj. Carlism adherence to Don Carlos of Spain and to his successors. —Carlist, n. Castroism the doctrines and policies of Fidel Castro, communist premier of Cuba. centrism adherence to a middle-of-the-road position, neither left nor right, as in politics. —centrist, adj., n. Chartism the principles of a movement or party of English political reformers, chiefly workingmen, from 1838 to 1848, advocating better working and social conditions for laborers in its People’s Charter (1838). —Chartist, n. civicism the doctrine that all citizens have the same rights and obligations. civilist Obsolete, a person who studies politics. clubbism a system of political clubs, especially the clubs of the French Revolution. —clubbist, n. —clubbish, adj. Cobdenism the political doctrines of Richard Cobden, who believed in peace and the withdrawal from European competition for balance of power. collectivism the socialist principle of control by the state of all means of productive or economic activity. —collectivist, n., adj. —collectivistic, adj. communalism 1. a theory or system of organization in which the major political and social units are self-governing communes, and the nation is merely a federation of such groups. 2. the principles or practices of communal ownership. Cf. communism, socialism. —communalist, n. —communalistic, adj. communism a theory or system in which all property is owned by all of the people equally, with its administration vested by them in the state or in the community. Cf. capitalism. —communist, n., adj. —communistic, adj. conservatism 1. the disposition to retain what is established and to practice a policy of gradualism rather than abrupt change. Cf. radicalism. 2. the principles and practices of political conservatives, especially of the British Conservative party. —conservative, n., adj. constitutionalism 1. the principles of the form of government defined by a constitution. 2. an adherence to these principles. 3. constitutional rule or authority. —constitutionalist, n. continentalism 1. an attitude or policy of favoritism or partiality to a continent. 2. a policy advocating a restriction of political or economie relations to the countries of one continent. —continentalist, n. corruptionist a person who practices or advocates corruption, especially in politics or public life. cronyism favoritism, especially in the giving of political appointments. culottism the habits and principles of nonrevolutionaries, of the bourgeoisie. Cf. sansculottism. —culottic, adj. czarism 1. an autocratic government. 2. dictatorship. Also spelled tzarism, tsarism. —czarist, n., adj. Decembrist one of those who conspired to overthrow Russian Czar Nicholas I in December, 1825. Also Dekebrist. Dekebrist Decembrist. demagogism, demagogy the art and practice of gaining power and popularity by arousing the emotions, passions, and prejudices of the people. Also demagoguery. democratism a doctrine of or belief in social equality or the right of all people to participate equally in politics. denominationalism 1. the policy of being sectarian in spirit, especially in carrying out religious policy. 2. the tendency to separate or cause to separate into sects or denominations. —denominationalist, n., adj. departmentalism advocacy of the division of something, such as an educational institution, into departments. —departmentalization, n. diversionism the actions used by a saboteur against his own government and military forces. —diversionist, n. —diversionary, adj. dynamitism the activity of terrorists who use dynamite to blow up public places. egalitarianism a social and political philosophy asserting the equality of all men, especially in their access to the rights and privileges of their society. Also equalitarianism. —egalitarian, n., adj. equalitarianism egalitarianism. etatism a form of state socialism. expansionism a policy of expansion, as of territory or currency. —expansionist, n., adj. —expansionistic, adj. factionalism the state or quality of being partisan or self-interested. —factional, adj. —factionalist, n. Falangism the doctrines and practices of the Spanish fascist party. —Falangist, n., adj. Fayettism the beliefs and activities of the followers of the Marquis de Lafayette. Fenianism the principles and practices of an Irish revolutionary organization founded in New York in 1858, especially its emphasis on the establishment of an independent Irish republic. —Fenian, n., adj. Feuillant (in France) a member of a club of constitutional monarchists, named after their meeting place at Notre Dame des Feuillants. Free Soilism the principles of the Free Soil party (1846-56), which opposed the extension of slavery into any new territories of the United States. —Free Soiler, n. fusionism the quality of having a coalition between certain political parties. —fusionist, n. Gandhiism the principles of Mohandas K. Gandhi, Indian political and spiritual leader, especially his advocacy of passive resistance and noncooperation to achieve social and political reforms. —Gandhist, Gandhiist, n. —Candhian, adj. Gaullism 1. the principles and policies of Charles de Gaulle during World War II in support of the Free French and opposed to the Vichy regime. 2. the political principles, chiefly conservative and nationalistic, of de Gaulle as French president, 1959-69. —Gaullist, n., adj. geopolitics 1. the study or application of the effect of political or economic geography on the political structure, programs, or philosophy of a state. 2. a policy or policies based on such factors. 3. the complex of geographical and political factors affecting or determining the nature of a state or region. 4. the study of the relationship between geography and politics, applied especially to the study of the doctrines and actions of Nazi Germany in the context of world domination. —geopolitician, n. —geopolitical, adj. Ghibellinism the principles of the imperial and aristocratic party of medieval Italy, especially their support of the German emperors. Cf. Guelphism. —Ghibelline, n., adj. Girondism a form of mild republicanism in France, 1791-1793, led by natives of the Gironde. —Girondist, n., adj. gradualism the principle or policy of achieving a goal, as political or economic, by gradual steps rather than by sudden and drastic innovation. Cf. conservatism, radicalism. —gradualist, n., adj. —gradualistic, adj. Guelphism, Guelfism the principles and practices of the papal and popular party in medieval Italy. Cf. Ghibellinism. —Guelphic, Guelfic, adj. Guesdism the principles of Marxian socialism as interpreted by the French socialist, editor, and writer Jules Guesde. —Guesdist, n., adj. Hamiltonianism the political theories, doctrines, or policies of Alexander Hamilton, especially federalism, strong central government, and protective tariffs. —Hamiltonian, n., adj. heteronomy the condition of being under the rule or domination of another. ideology the body of doctrine, myth, symbol, etc., with reference to some political or cultural plan, as that of communism, along with the procedures for putting it into operation. —ideologist, idealogue, n. —ideologic, ideological, adj. illiberalism opposition to liberalism. institutionalism 1. the system of institutions or organized societies devoted to public, political, or charitable, or similar purposes. 2. a strong attachment to established institutions, as political systems or religions. —institutionalist, n. insurgentism the state of being an insurgent or rebel; the activities of insurgents or rebels. internationalism 1. the belief in cooperation between nations for the common good. 2. advocacy of this concept, —internationalist, n., adj. interpolity Rare. the holding of mutual citizenship. interventionism the doctrine supporting intervention, especially in international affairs and the politics of other countries. —interventionist, n., adj. irredentism 1. a national policy advocating the acquisition of some region in another country by reason of common linguistic, cultural, historical, ethnic, or racial ties. 2. (cap.) the policies of a 19th-century Italian party that sought to annex parts of certain neighboring regions with chiefly Italian populations. —irredentist, n., adj. isolationism the policy or doctrine directed toward the isolation of a country from the affairs of other nations by a deliberate abstention from political, military, and economic agreements. —isolationist, n. isonomy the possession of equal political and legal rights by all citizens of a state. isopolity the granting of equal or reciprocal political rights by different countries to each other’s citizens. —isopolite, n. —isopolitical, adj. Jacobinism the practices of the Jacobins, a political group advocating equalitarian democracy during the French Revolution. —Jacobin, n. —Jacobinic, adj. Jeffersonianism the political theories, doctrines, or policies of Thomas Jefferson, especially rigid interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, belief in an agrarian economy, states’ rights, and in the political acumen of the ordinary citizen. —Jeffersonian, adj. jusquaboutism, jusquaboutisme a policy of self-sacrificing and determined radicalism. —jusquaboutist, n., adj. kaiserism the autocratie political system and policies of a German kaiser. Khomeinism the religious and political doctrines of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (1900?-), who founded the Islamic Republic in Iran in 1979. Know-Nothingism doctrines of the American Party (1853-1856), the main goal of which was to bar foreign-born citizens from participating in government. —know-nothing, n. leftism a radical or liberal position or doctrine, especially in politics. —leftist, n., adj. liberalism 1. a political or social philosophy advocating the f reedom of the individual, parliamentary legislatures, governmental assurances of civil liberties and individual rights, and nonviolent modification of institutions to permit continued individual and social progress. 2. the principles and practice of a liberal political party. —liberalist, n., adj. —liberalistic, adj. liberationism the principles of the liberationists, an English society opposed to a state or established church and favoring disestablishment. —liberationist, n. lobbyism the practice of influencing legislators to favor special interests. —lobbyist, n. Locofocoism the doctrines of the Locofocos, a radical faction of the New York City Democrats, organized in 1835 to oppose the conservatives in the party. —Locofoco, n., adj. Loyalism 1. a dedication to the British cause during the American revolution; Toryism. 2. an adherence to the cause of the republic during the Spanish Civil War. —Loyalist, n., adj. Machiavellianism 1. the principles of government set forth in The Prince by Machiavelli, in which political expediency is exalted above morality and the use of er aft and deceit to maintain authority or to effectuate policy is recommended. Also Machiavellism. 2. activity characterized by subtle cunning, duplicity, or bad faith. —Machiavellian, n., adj. Malanism the principles and attitudes of Daniel F. Malan, prime minister of the Union of South Africa (1948-54), whose policies of apartheid and Afrikander supremacy were first made law during his term of office. McCarthyism 1. U.S. the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, especially of pro-Communist activity, often unsupported or based on doubtful evidence. 2. any attempt to restrict political criticism or individual dissent by claiming it to be unpatriotic or pro-Communist. Medism an attitude of sympathy towards the Medes (Persians), held by some Greeks in the 6th and 5th centuries B.C. militarism 1. the principle of maintaining a large military establishment. 2. the policy of regarding military efficiency as the supreme ideal of the state, and the subordinating of all other ideals to those of the military. Also militaryism. —militarist, n. —militaristic, adj. moderantism the principle or policy of moderation, especially in politics and international relations. —moderantist, n. mugwumpism 1. the practice of independence, especially in politics. 2. an inability to make up one’s mind, especially in politics; neutrality on controversial issues. Also mugwumpery. —mugwump, n. —mugwumpian, mugwumpish, adj. multitudinism a doctrine that lays stress on the importance of the multitude instead of the individual. —multitudinist, n., adj. —multitudinal, adj. Nazism, Naziism the principles and practices of the National Socialist Workers’ party under Adolf Hitler from 1933 to 1945. —Nazi, n., adj. negrophilism the advancement and advocacy of equal rights for Negroes. —negrophilist, n. —negrophile, adj. neocolonialism domination of a small or weak country by a large or strong one without the assumption of direct government. —neocolonialist, n., —neocolonial, adj. neoconservatism a new movement in conservatism, usually seen as a move further to the right of the position currently occupied by conservatives in politics or in attitudes. —neoconservative, n., adj. neoliberalism a movement that modifies classical liberalism in light of 20th-century conditions. neutralism the practice or policy of remaining neutral in foreign affairs. —neutralist, n. noninterventionism the doctrine that governments should not interfere in the politics of other countries. —noninterventionist, n., adj. nonpartisanism the practice or policy of nonsupport for established or regular political parties. Also nonpartisanship. —nonpartisan, n., adj. nothingarianism the holding of no belief, creed, or political position. Cf. anythingarianism. —nothingarian, n. Pan-Africanism the doctrine or advocacy of alliance or cooperation among all African states. —Pan-Africanist, n., adj. Pan-Americanism the idea of a single state including all of North and South America. Pan-Arabism the doctrine or advocacy of alliance or cooperation among all Arab states. —Pan-Arabist, n., adj. Pan-Germanism a 19th-century political movement whose aim was the unification of all Germans. partisanism an action or spirit of partiality for a specific political party. Also partisanship. —partisan, n., adj. partyism 1. the system of political parties. 2. a strong adherence to a party. —partyist, n. passivism 1. the state or quality of being passive. 2. the doctrine or advocacy of a passive policy, as passive resistance. —passivist, n. physiocratism the principles and doctrines of political economists following the ideas of Francois Quesnay in holding that an inherent natural order adequately controlled society and advocating a laissezfaire economy based on land as the best system to prevent interference with natural laws. —physiocrat, n. —physiocratic, adj. Pittism the policies of William Pitt the Younger, chief minister under King George III of England and sympathizer with the colonies during the American Revolution. —Pittite, n. pluralism 1. Ecclesiastic. the holding of two or more church offices by a single person. 2. the state or condition of a common civilization in which various ethnic, racial, or religious groups are free to participate in and develop their common cultures. 3. a policy or principle supporting such cultural plurality. —pluralist, n. —pluralistic, adj. politicomania a mania for politics. politology the study of politics; political science. Also politicology. —politologist, n. —politological, adj. polycentrism the existence of a number of basic guiding principles in the political system of a Communist government. popular sovereignty 1. the doctrine that sovereign power is vested in the people and that those chosen by election to govern or to represent must conform to the will of the people. 2. U.S. History. a doctrine, held chiefly before 1865 by antiabolitionists, that new territories should be free of federal interference in domestic matters, especially concerning slavery. populism 1. the principles and doctrines of any political party asserting that it represents the rank and file of the people. 2. (cap.) the principles and doctrines of a late 19th-century American party, especially its support of agrarian interests and a silver coinage. —populist, n., adj. —populistic, adj. pornocracy domination of government by prostitutes, especially in reference to the Roman government in the flrst half of the lOth century. progressivism 1. Also called progressionism, progressism. the principles and practices of those advocating progress, change, or reform, especially in political matters. 2. (cap.) the doctrines and beliefs of the Progressive party in America. —progressivist, n. proletarianism the practices, attitudes, social status, or political condition of an unpropertied class dependent for support on daily or casual labor. —proletarian, n., adj. proportionalism the principle of electing officials by proportionality. —proportionalist, n., adj. psephology the study of elections. —psephologist, n. —psephological, adj. quislingism the traitorous rejection of one’s native country foliowed by the acceptance of a position of authority in the government of an occupying power. —quisling, n. radicalism 1. the holding or following of principles advocating drastic political, economie, or social reforms. Cf. conservatism, gradualism. 2. the principles or practices of radicals. —radical, n., adj. realpolitik realism in politics, especially policies or actions based on considerations of power rather than ideals. Rebeccaism the beliefs of rioters in South Wales in 1843-44, who were led by a man dressed as a woman and called Rebecca. —Rebeccaite, n. reformism the doctrine or movement of reform whether it be social, moral, or of any other type. —reformist, n. —reformistic, adj. retrogradism adherence to reactionary politics. —retrogradist, n., adj. royalism the support or advocacy of a royal government. —royalist, n., adj. —royalistic, adj. sanscullotism any extreme republican or revolutionary principles. Cf. culottism. —sanscullotist, n. —sanscullotic, sanscullotish, adj. secessionism the doctrines and practices of the secessionists. —secessionist, n., adj. —secessional, adj. separatism an advocacy of separation, especially ecclesiastical or political separation, as the secession of U.S. states before the Civl War. —separatist, n., adj. Sinarquism a secret Mexican counterrevolutionary movement, advocating the return to Christian social standards and opposing communism, labor unions, conscription, and Pan-Americanism. —Sinarquist, n. Slavophobia fear or hatred of things Slavic, especially of real or imagined political influence. —Slavophobe, n. —Slavophobic, adj. socialism 1. a theory or system of social organization advocating placing the ownership and control of capital, land, and means of production in the community as a whole. Cf. utopian socialism. 2. the procedures and practices based upon this theory. 3. Marxist theory. the first stage in the transition from capitalism to communism, marked by imperfect realizations of collectivist principles. —socialist, n., adj. —socialistic, adj. Spartacist 1. a member of a German socialist party founded in 1918. 2. an extreme socialist. [Allusion to Spartacus, leader of a slave revolt against Rome, 73-71 B.C.] stalwartism the principles and actions characteristic of one who is a strong partisan of a cause. —stalwart, n. stand pattism extreme conservatism. suffragettism militant advocacy of suffrage for women. Cf. suffragism. suffragism any advocacy of the granting or extension of the suffrage to those now denied it, especially to women. —suffragist, n. syndicalism 1. an economic system in which workers own and manage an industry. 2. a revolutionary form or development of trade unionism, originating in France, aiming at possession and control of the means of production and distribution and the establishment of a corporate society governed by trade unions and workers’ cooperatives. —syndicalist, n. —syndicalistic, adj. Tammanism, Tammanyism 1. the activities and principles of Tammany Hall, a powerful New York City Democratic political society of the 1800s, founded as a benevolent organization, which later deteriorated into a force for political patronage and corruption. 2. activities or beliefs similar to those of Tammany Hall. —Tammanyite, n., adj. territorialism 1. the principle of the political predominance of the landed classes; landlordism. 2. the theory of church policy vesting supreme ecclesiastical authority in a civil government, as in 16th-century Germany. Also called territorial system. —territorialist, n. terrorism 1. a method of government or of resisting government involving domination or coercion by various forms of intimidation, as bombing or kidnapping. 2. the state of fear and terror so produced. —terrorist, n., adj. —terroristic, adj. Toryism 1. a support of the British cause during the American Revolution. 2. an advocacy of conservative principles opposed to reform and radicalism. 3. the actions of dispossessed Irishmen in the 17th century who were declared outlaws and noted for their outrages and cruelty. 4. the principles of a conservative British party in power until 1832. —Tory, n., adj., —Toryish, adj. two-partyism the condition in a nation of having two political parties with equal voting strength and little opposition from other parties. tzarism, tsarism czarism. ultraconservatism extreme conservatism, especially in politics. —ultraconservative, n., adj. ultraism 1. the principles of those who advocate extreme points of view or actions, as radicalism. 2. extremist activities. —ultraist, n., adj. —ultraistic, adj. un-Americanism the state or condition of being out of sympathy with or against an ideal of American behavior, attitudes, beliefs, etc. —un-American, n., adj. utopian socialism an economie theory based on the premise that voluntary surrender by capital of the means of production would bring about the end of poverty and unemployment. Cf. socialism. Watergatism 1. any underhanded, illegal, unethical, or dishonest political practice or action. 2. behavior attempting to conceal such practices or action. Whiggarchy Rare. government or rule by Whigs. Whiteboyism the doctrines and activities of the Irish Whiteboys, a secret agrarian society formed in 1761 to fight high rents [from the white shirts worn by the members at night for identification]. —Whiteboy, n.
(countable and uncountable, plural politics)
- (countable) A methodology and activities associated with running a government, an organization, or a movement.
- (countable) The profession of conducting political affairs.
- He made a career out of politics.
- (countable) One's political stands and opinions.
- Their politics are clear from the bumper stickers on their cars.
- (uncountable) Political maneuvers or diplomacy between people, groups, or organizations, especially involving power, influence or conflict.
- There's too much politics in this organization.
From the adjective politic, by analogy with Aristotle’s "τα πολιτικά" ('affairs of state').