pol·​i·​tics | \ ˈpä-lə-ˌtiks How to pronounce politics (audio) \

Definition of politics

1a : the art or science of government
b : the art or science concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy
c : the art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government
2 : political actions, practices, or policies
3a : political affairs or business especially : competition between competing interest groups or individuals for power and leadership (as in a government)
b : political life especially as a principal activity or profession
c : political activities characterized by artful and often dishonest practices
4 : the political opinions or sympathies of a person
5a : the total complex of relations between people living in society
b : relations or conduct in a particular area of experience especially as seen or dealt with from a political point of view office politics ethnic politics

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Playing Politics

Politics is a multifaceted word. It has a set of fairly specific meanings that are descriptive and nonjudgmental (such as “the art or science of government” and "political principles"), but it can and often does carry a negative meaning closely related to these (“political activities characterized by artful and often dishonest practices”). English is a flexible language, and it is not uncommon for a word to have multiple related meanings that run the connotative gamut from good to bad. Some of these have been around for a surprisingly long time. The negative sense of politics, as seen in the phrase play politics, for example, has been in use since at least 1853, when abolitionist Wendell Phillips declared: “We do not play politics; anti-slavery is no half-jest with us.”

Examples of politics in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

This isn’t a question of politics or party ideology. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Your Say: Election 2020 priorities," 2 Aug. 2019 Regardless of politics, being there in person, feeling the electricity in the room, has been pretty incredible... Brian Stelter, CNN, "Google reveals most-searched candidate during Wednesday debate," 1 Aug. 2019 But there is one thing Americans agree on regardless of politics: Trust in both the federal government and in one another must improve. Alia E. Dastagir, USA TODAY, "Trust no one? Americans lack faith in the government, the media and each other, survey finds," 23 July 2019 So much of Chicago politics is centered on who’s loyal to whom and for what reasons. Chancellor Agard, EW.com, "Pearson star Bethany Joy Lenz on the fun of ‘butting heads’ with Gina Torres," 16 July 2019 Some of the biggest names in music, film, television, politics, fashion, beauty, business and beyond joined us to celebrate 25 years of moving the culture forward in New Orleans! Rachaell Davis, Essence, "Star Gazing: 2019 ESSENCE Festival Edition," 11 July 2019 Garner, who has worked in country radio for three decades, was well-aware that politics is a sensitive issue for many — particularly in the country music industry, where the strategy is typically to stay as apolitical as possible. Emily Yahr, Washington Post, "Pete Buttigieg sat for an interview with a popular country radio host. But now it won’t air.," 21 July 2019 Conservatives believe in character, because politics is about judgment as well as reason. The Economist, "The global crisis in conservatism," 4 July 2019 If there's anything that the 2016 election cycle taught us, from the campaign announcement videos to the eventual winner, politics truly is, among other things, a form of pop entertainment. Lorraine Ali, chicagotribune.com, "Why reality TV has nothing on the Democratic debates," 23 June 2019

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

circa 1529, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for politics

Greek politika, from neuter plural of politikos political

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Statistics for politics

Last Updated

11 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for politics

The first known use of politics was circa 1529

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More Definitions for politics

politics

noun

English Language Learners Definition of politics

: activities that relate to influencing the actions and policies of a government or getting and keeping power in a government
: the work or job of people (such as elected officials) who are part of a government
: the opinions that someone has about what should be done by governments : a person's political thoughts and opinions

politics

noun plural
pol·​i·​tics | \ ˈpä-lə-ˌtiks How to pronounce politics (audio) \

Kids Definition of politics

1 : the activities, actions, and policies that are used to gain and hold power in a government or to influence a government
2 : a person's opinions about the management of government
Hint: Politics can be used as a singular or a plural in writing and speaking. Politics has always interested me. The country's politics have changed.

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More from Merriam-Webster on politics

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with politics

Spanish Central: Translation of politics

Nglish: Translation of politics for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of politics for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about politics

Comments on politics

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