Impolitic appeared 400 years ago as an antonym of "politic," a word that basically means "shrewd," "sagacious," or "tactful." "Politic" came to us via Middle French from Latin politicus. The Latin word, in turn, came from a Greek word based on politēs, meaning "citizen." "Impolitic" has often been used to refer to action or policy on the part of public figures that is politically unwise-from British statesman Edmund Burke's judicious "the most ... impolitick of all things, unequal taxation" (1797) to People journalist James Kunen's ironic "The author of these impolitic remarks has risen to the very pinnacle of politics" (1988).
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