im·​pol·​i·​tic | \ (ˌ)im-ˈpä-lə-ˌtik How to pronounce impolitic (audio) \

Definition of impolitic

: not politic : unwise

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Other Words from impolitic

impolitical \ (ˌ)im-​pə-​ˈli-​ti-​kəl How to pronounce impolitical (audio) \ adjective
impolitically \ (ˌ)im-​pə-​ˈli-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce impolitically (audio) \ adverb
impoliticly \ (ˌ)im-​ˈpä-​lə-​ˌti-​klē How to pronounce impoliticly (audio) \ adverb

Did You Know?

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).

Examples of impolitic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Even Republicans who drink endless war like Olympian nectar concede that Suleimani’s killing was impolitic vengeance with no clear security advantage. Adam Weinstein, The New Republic, "The Pinnacle of Trump’s Foreign Policy Stupidity," 3 Jan. 2020 Despite abundant criticism for his blunt and impolitic rhetoric as Metro board chairman, Evans helped focus the region’s attention on the need for dedicated funding for the transit system and aggressive steps to catch up on overdue maintenance. Robert Mccartney, Washington Post, "Harm to D.C.’s image will only grow as long as Jack Evans clings to council seat.," 10 Nov. 2019 The event was raucous and impolitic and placed Fox News at the center of the primary. Sarah Ellison, Washington Post, "MSNBC is both a news channel and face of the Resistance. How will that impact the Democratic primary debate?," 22 June 2019 Johnson has repeatedly run into trouble for off-the-cuff and impolitic remarks. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, "Trump could handle Brexit better than Theresa May, Boris Johnson says," 8 June 2018 In recent decades, Bierstadt’s reputation has suffered from accusations of commercialism and impolitic visions of the West; here he is largely rescued, but perhaps with too much fervor. Edward Rothstein, WSJ, "‘Albert Bierstadt: Witness to a Changing West’ Review: Where the Sublime Joins the Melancholy," 25 June 2018 The latest comments may be his most impolitic and unhelpful, though. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "Trump’s rumored next chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, admits he sold access as a congressman," 25 Apr. 2018 Jarrar has a right to speak, and setting the precedent that professors should be fired for saying gross, atrocious or impolitic things seems like a serious problem. Anna North, Vox, "Conservatives keep sparking “free speech” battles. When a Muslim professor tweeted about racism, guess what happened?," 24 Apr. 2018 And Anthony Scaramucci did it for 10 days before being shown the door for impolitic and profane comments about colleagues. Philip Elliott, Time, "Why Hope Hicks Resigning Matters," 2 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'impolitic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of impolitic

circa 1600, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of impolitic was circa 1600

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Last Updated

14 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Impolitic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2020.

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for impolitic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with impolitic

Spanish Central: Translation of impolitic

Nglish: Translation of impolitic for Spanish Speakers

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