pol·​i·​ty | \ ˈpä-lə-tē How to pronounce polity (audio) \
plural polities

Definition of polity

1 : political organization
2 : a specific form of political organization
3 : a politically organized unit
4a : the form or constitution of a politically organized unit
b : the form of government of a religious denomination

Examples of polity in a Sentence

the polities of medieval Italy
Recent Examples on the Web This is due to the mismanagement of the economy and lack of political reforms and restructuring in our Sri Lankan polity. Anusha Ondaatjie, Bloomberg.com, 19 Apr. 2022 All the while, Orban presides over a Hungarian polity in the heart of Europe that would be familiar to a strongman like Putin. Washington Post, 3 Apr. 2022 The dead master, the disappearing homeland, the need to start again in a new polity (post-Soviet Russia for Putin, the new united Germany for Merkel)—the leaders had a great deal in common. Fintan O’toole, The New York Review of Books, 18 Oct. 2021 The project specifies a belief that America’s founding ideas were false, but that they can be made true, a rejection of both exceptionalist and counter-exceptionalist thought that is essential for a healthy polity. Parker Richards, The New Republic, 17 Mar. 2022 The authors make liberal use of the collective we, and the choice functions not as a glib imposition of commonality on a fractured world, but instead as a simple recognition: In a shared polity and a shared planet, our fates are bound together. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, 5 Mar. 2022 Eco notes that when a leader emerges who promises to use traditional masculinity, and thereby restore the former greatness of the nation or the polity, that leader is inevitably drawn toward the rejection of limits to centralized power. Michael Blake, The Conversation, 4 Mar. 2022 The polity will divide into two and more pieces, each of them forming a new whole, each viewing the other as an Other. Damon Linker, The Week, 4 Jan. 2022 Churches, either at the denominational or congregational level, depending on polity, select a hymnal and use it in worship. Dominic Pino, National Review, 1 Aug. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of polity

1538, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for polity

probably borrowed from Late Latin polītīa "citizenship, political organization, constitution of a state, administrative direction," with ending conformed to -ity — more at police entry 1

Learn More About polity

Dictionary Entries Near polity




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for polity

Last Updated

2 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Polity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polity. Accessed 18 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on polity

Nglish: Translation of polity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of polity for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about polity


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Color

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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