Definition of power politics 

: politics based primarily on the use of power (such as military and economic strength) as a coercive force rather than on ethical precepts

Examples of power politics in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The future of migration’s soft-power politics How liberal democracies respond to these practices will determine the future of authoritarian emigration states’ soft-power agenda. Gerasimos Tsourapas, Washington Post, "How authoritarian regimes use migration to exert ‘soft power’ in foreign policy," 6 July 2018 Washington is known more for power politics than humanitarian works. Elizabeth Williamson, New York Times, "Behind the Bar, Mixing Drinks With Aid for a Faraway Home," 9 July 2018 The reason was basic power politics: all five had an interest in trying to reimpose the exclusivity of the nuclear club. W.j. Hennigan, Time, "President Trump Is Putting Huge Pressure on Europe to Reinstate Sanctions on Iran. He's in for a Tough Sell at the NATO Summit," 3 July 2018 Few figures in northeastern Syria have been as well acquainted with the power politics of the country. Washington Post, "How American neglect imperils the victory over ISIS," 19 Apr. 2018 The search for a new Los Angeles schools superintendent is proceeding behind closed doors, but the underlying power politics extend well beyond the room where seven elected Board of Education members are at work. Howard Blume,, "The power game behind the search for a new L.A. schools leader," 19 Apr. 2018 But Francis was also an eager player in the game of European power politics, along with his contemporary monarchs Henry VIII of England and Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire. John Steele Gordon, WSJ, "‘Francis I’ Review: A Royal Renaissance," 27 Mar. 2018 This would not be the first time the chemical weapons watchdog was shaken by great-power politics. Ellen Barry, New York Times, "Russia, Praised for Scrapping Chemical Weapons, Now Under Watchdog’s Gaze," 20 Mar. 2018 This Orwellian development is perhaps the most grotesque incarnation of the power politics exercised by the Western conservatives. Jack Holmes, Esquire, "Making Sense of Cambridge Analytica, Facebook, and 'Psychological Warfare'," 19 Mar. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of power politics

1901, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about power politics

Share power politics

Statistics for power politics

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for power politics

The first known use of power politics was in 1901

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for power politics

power politics


English Language Learners Definition of power politics

: politics based on the use of military or economic power to influence the actions and decisions of other governments

Comments on power politics

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


a nest or breeding place

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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