noun, often capitalized \rā-ˈäl-ˌpō-li-ˌtēk\

: a system of politics based on a country's situation and its needs rather than on ideas about what is morally right and wrong

Full Definition of REALPOLITIK

:  politics based on practical and material factors rather than on theoretical or ethical objectives


German, from real actual + Politik politics
First Known Use: 1914


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Politics based on practical objectives rather than on ideals. The word does not mean “real” in the English sense but rather connotes “things”—hence a politics of adaptation to things as they are. Realpolitik thus suggests a pragmatic, no-nonsense view and a disregard for ethical considerations. In diplomacy it is often associated with relentless, though realistic, pursuit of the national interest.


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