polis

noun
po·lis | \ˈpä-ləs \
plural poleis\ˈpä-ˌlās \

Definition of polis 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: a Greek city-state broadly : a state or society especially when characterized by a sense of community

Definition of -polis (Entry 2 of 2)

: city megalopolis

Examples of polis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Writing at the end of the first century, the Jewish historian Josephus described how the small fishing village of Bethsaida became a Greco-Roman city, or polis, during the reign of Philip the Tetrarch in A.D. 30. National Geographic, "The Real Story Behind the "House of Jesus' Apostles" Discovery," 7 Aug. 2017 In politics, how one leads the polis and how one manages the machinery of government are two distinct phenomena. Douglas Hess, Fortune, "Why Trump’s Management Style Doesn’t Work," 28 July 2017

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

First Known Use of polis

Noun

1884, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for polis

Noun

Greek — more at police

Noun combining form

Late Latin, from Greek, from polis

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about polis

Statistics for polis

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for polis

The first known use of polis was in 1884

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on polis

See words that rhyme with polis

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about polis

Comments on polis

What made you want to look up polis? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

one that holds something together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!