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

The first is to move somewhere else — someplace where this sort of thing does not happen anywhere within the polity. Charles C. W. Cooke, National Review, "The Post-Liberals’ Incoherence," 20 June 2019 For Runciman this process is most advanced in polities like Greece and Japan. Adam Tooze, The New York Review of Books, "Democracy and Its Discontents," 6 June 2019 From its creation, the U.S. has been a collection of separate polities, with differing laws, religions, races and national identities. WSJ, "Country and Patriotism Can Be Good Things," 31 Aug. 2018 Many of the euro’s founders hoped that sharing a common currency would encourage Europeans to think of themselves as sharing a common European polity. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Euro’s Next 20 Years," 30 Dec. 2018 Governing an international polity, and doing so while making money off the results, poses unique problems of both legitimacy and operation. Ezra Klein, Vox, "The controversy over Mark Zuckerberg’s comments on Holocaust denial, explained," 20 July 2018 Our divided polity needs more civil dialogues like this, and more legislators willing to respect their outcomes. William A. Galston, WSJ, "Freedom of Belief Bridges America’s Divides," 11 Dec. 2018 But constitutions, however elegant, can’t breathe life into dead polities. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, "America’s Decline Never Seems to Arrive," 2 July 2018 In our country’s earliest days, European ancestry distinguished members of the polity from those whose land could be rightfully expropriated; and whose bodies justly bought and sold. Eric Leivtz, Daily Intelligencer, "For Democrats, Immigration Is a Political Problem Without a Policy Solution," 2 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of polity

1538, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for polity

Late Latin politia — more at police

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Statistics for polity

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for polity

The first known use of polity was in 1538

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English Language Learners Definition of polity

: something (such as a country or state) that has a government : a politically organized unit
: a form of government

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More from Merriam-Webster on polity

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with polity

Nglish: Translation of polity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of polity for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about polity

Comments on polity

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


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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