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

Definition of politic

1 : political
2 : characterized by shrewdness in managing, contriving, or dealing
3 : sagacious in promoting a policy
4 : shrewdly tactful

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for politic


diplomatic, tactful


gauche, impolitic, tactless, undiplomatic, untactful

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for politic

expedient, politic, advisable mean dictated by practical or prudent motives. expedient usually implies what is immediately advantageous without regard for ethics or consistent principles. a politically expedient decision politic stresses judiciousness and tactical value but usually implies some lack of candor or sincerity. a politic show of interest advisable applies to what is practical, prudent, or advantageous but lacks the derogatory implication of expedient and politic. sometimes it's advisable to say nothing

suave, urbane, diplomatic, bland, smooth, politic mean pleasantly tactful and well-mannered. suave suggests a specific ability to deal with others easily and without friction. a suave public relations coordinator urbane implies high cultivation and poise coming from wide social experience. an urbane traveler diplomatic stresses an ability to deal with ticklish situations tactfully. a diplomatic negotiator bland emphasizes mildness of manner and absence of irritating qualities. a bland master of ceremonies smooth suggests often a deliberately assumed suavity. a smooth salesman politic implies shrewd as well as tactful and suave handling of people. a cunningly politic manager

Did You Know?

Politic behavior in class always requires a respectful attitude toward your teacher. It's never politic to ask for a raise when your boss is in a terrible mood. And once teenagers learn to drive, they quickly learn the politic way to ask for the car—that is, whatever gets the keys without upsetting the parents. As you can see, politic can be used for many situations that have nothing to do with public politics.

Examples of politic in a Sentence

It would not be politic to ignore them. the actor is politic in discussing the aborted film project, being content to say that there were “creative differences”

Recent Examples on the Web

Company executives may be too politic to say this, but there’s a reason WhatsApp must worry about lynch mobs in India and not in Brazil, Mexico and Spain. Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, "WhatsApp Gets a Bum Rap for an Indian Murder Epidemic," 9 Aug. 2018 Clinton did not shy away from the politic drama that has followed her since the 2016 election. Alix Langone, Time, "Hillary Clinton Tells Students to Bridge the Political Divide With 'Radical Empathy' in Yale Class Day Speech," 20 May 2018 But the professor's words on Twitter were not nearly so politic. The Washington Post, AL.com, "California professor who called Barbara Bush racist won't be punished," 25 Apr. 2018 But the professor’s words on Twitter were not nearly so politic. Cleve R. Wootson Jr. And Susan Svrluga, Washington Post, "Fresno State says it can’t discipline the professor who called Barbara Bush an ‘amazing racist’," 25 Apr. 2018 Japanese coming to Boston was the politic thing to do. Kathryn Tolbert, Washington Post, "The Japanese once ruled the Boston Marathon. A war bride’s son recalls the slurs.," 15 Apr. 2018 Tupac spoke his mind and his politic skills were amazing. Michael Saponara, Billboard, "Lil Durk Talks Crafting 'Just 'Cause Y'all Waited,' Leaving Def Jam & Possibly Doing an Entire Singing Album," 11 Apr. 2018 Read through a skeptical lens, Bamba was just volunteering a politic response. Chris Johnson, SI.com, "Mohamed Bamba's NCAA Tournament History Is Brief but His Future Remains Quite Bright," 16 Mar. 2018 According to Gretar Thor Eythorsson, a professor of politic science at the University of Akureyri, Benediktsson is right in that his party has a loyal group of voters of about 25 percent of the electorate. Ragnhildur Siguroardottir, Bloomberg.com, "Government Crisis Gives Iceland’s Pirate Party a Second Chance," 19 Sep. 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of politic

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for politic

Middle English politik, from Middle French politique, from Latin politicus, from Greek politikos, from politēs citizen — more at police

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about politic

Statistics for politic

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for politic

The first known use of politic was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for politic



English Language Learners Definition of politic

formal : showing good judgment especially in dealing with other people

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on politic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with politic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for politic

Spanish Central: Translation of politic

Nglish: Translation of politic for Spanish Speakers

Comments on politic

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


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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