pol·​i·​ty ˈpä-lə-tē How to pronounce polity (audio)
plural polities
: political organization
: a specific form of political organization
: a politically organized unit
: the form or constitution of a politically organized unit
: the form of government of a religious denomination

Examples of polity in a Sentence

the polities of medieval Italy
Recent Examples on the Web In theory, these answers reflect the will of the polity. Gideon Lewis-Kraus, The New Yorker, 30 Nov. 2023 If the issues at stake are opportunity and its role in a democratic polity, then our focus should be on supporting and strengthening the public university system. Naomi Oreskes, Scientific American, 10 Nov. 2023 Advancing this policy may require creating a quasi-federal polity freed of the requirements of unanimity that govern—some would say hinder—EU decision-making. Loukas Tsoukalis, Foreign Affairs, 22 Aug. 2023 To survive in an interdependent world, any wealthy polity, especially a democratic welfare state, must necessarily regulate flows of goods, finance, and people in its own interest—even if its inhabitants are sincere cosmopolitans. Hans Kundnani, Foreign Affairs, 24 Oct. 2023 There are major cracks within the Israeli polity and society around the nature of what this Zionist project has produced. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 11 Oct. 2023 In another section of his book, Cooper writes that democracies are less liable to popular tumults than any other polities, because the people, having legal means in their power to redress wrongs, have little inducement to employ any other. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 9 Oct. 2023 What this month’s deadly floods tell us about our global climate future Libya’s feuding factions and fractured polity laid the groundwork for the devastation that followed. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 15 Sep. 2023 For a variety of reasons, including the fact that people under the age of eighteen can’t vote, the U.S. polity hasn’t assigned a very high priority to achieving Johnson’s goal of greatly reducing child poverty. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, 15 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'polity.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1538, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of polity was in 1538

Dictionary Entries Near polity

Cite this Entry

“Polity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polity. Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on polity

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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