po·​lit·​i·​cize | \ pə-ˈli-tə-ˌsīz How to pronounce politicize (audio) \
politicized; politicizing

Definition of politicize

transitive verb

: to give a political tone or character to an attempt to politicize the civil service

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Other Words from politicize

politicization \ pə-​ˌli-​tə-​sə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce politicization (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?

Sexual harassment was once seen as a private matter, but in the 1980s and '90s it became thoroughly politicized, with women pressuring lawmakers to make it illegal. So, at the same time, the issue of sexual harassment politicized many women, who began to take an interest in political action because of it. In other words, we may speak of an issue becoming politicized, but also of a person or group becoming politicized.

Examples of politicize in a Sentence

They have politicized the budget process.

Recent Examples on the Web

Democrats have already done enough harm to the Senate’s confirmation process without also politicizing the FBI. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Politicizing the FBI," 19 Sep. 2018 Opponents of the British motion warned of politicizing the organization’s work, a charge with a long history and some justification. New York Times, "O.P.C.W., Chemical Weapons Watchdog, Gets Power to Assign Blame," 27 June 2018 As Catherine unwisely decides to mix painting and politicizing and gin up opposition to the treaty, her stays loosen and her hair escapes its elaborate pins and tucks. Steven Knight, New York Times, "Review: A ‘Woman Walks Ahead,’ and Sitting Bull Stands Up," 28 June 2018 Most of all, congressional Republicans have taken to actively abetting Trump’s various efforts to obstruct special counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry and politicize the FBI and the Department of Justice. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "There never were any “adults in the room”," 21 Dec. 2018 What does that say about how politicized this has gotten? Fox News, "Kavanaugh denies assault allegations in Fox News interview," 25 Sep. 2018 If logo-less normcore flourished under the Obama administration, let President Trump’s time in office, with the personal becoming increasingly politicized, be the new era of the slogan tee. Molly Oswaks, Glamour, "Expressing Yourself on a T-Shirt Isn't New—But It Feels More Urgent Than Ever," 11 Dec. 2018 The courts were notoriously politicized in the fight over slavery. Allen C. Guelzo, WSJ, "Kavanaugh May Be the Democrats’ Waterloo," 5 Oct. 2018 The attention on the suspect's immigration status has heavily politicized Mollie's death as anti-immigration pundits use the story to justify advocating for stricter laws. Caitlin Wolper, Teen Vogue, "Mollie Tibbetts's Father Said His Daughter Was His Hero and Praised Latinx Iowans in a Powerful Eulogy," 29 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'politicize.' 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 politicize

1846, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

21 Mar 2019

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The first known use of politicize was in 1846

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English Language Learners Definition of politicize

disapproving : to relate (an idea, issue, etc.) to politics in a way that makes people less likely to agree
: to cause (someone) to become involved or interested in government or politics

More from Merriam-Webster on politicize

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with politicize

Britannica English: Translation of politicize for Arabic Speakers

Comments on politicize

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


the range of authority or knowledge

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