states·​man | \ˈstāts-mən \

Definition of statesman 

1 : one versed in the principles or art of government especially : one actively engaged in conducting the business of a government or in shaping its policies

2 : a wise, skillful, and respected political leader

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from statesman

statesmanlike \ˈstāts-​mən-​ˌlīk \ adjective
statesmanly \ˈstāts-​mən-​lē \ adjective
statesmanship \ˈstāts-​mən-​ˌship \ noun

Examples of statesman in a Sentence

He was a soldier and statesman.

Recent Examples on the Web

As strong economic growth buoyed his control, Hun Sen began to assume the mantle of statesman and prepared his sons — appointed to important military positions — to be his political successors. Fox News, "Hun Sen plays hardball to keep his grip on Cambodia," 31 July 2018 He's matured into a senior statesman of the royal family now. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Prince Harry Has Become "More Aloof" Since Marrying Meghan Markle, According to This Royal Photographer," 29 Sep. 2018 Colin Davis, 85, former principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and one of Britain's elder statesmen of classical music, died in London., "Today in History: April 14, 2018," 14 Apr. 2018 The elder statesmen would be too much down low to handle. Kirkland Crawford, Detroit Free Press, "Who wins if Detroit Pistons, Michigan, MSU created localBig3 league?," 11 July 2018 China’s satisfaction means that, as well as becoming a statesman and seeing fewer military exercises on his doorstep, Mr Kim may also find the sanctions against his regime eased. The Economist, "Kim Jong Un did better than Donald Trump at the Singapore summit," 14 June 2018 In his new incarnation as an aging statesman, Sadr hasn’t shifted all that much. Thanassis Cambanis,, "How did Iraq’s Moqtada al-Sadr become a statesman? People just got used to him," 26 May 2018 Abdullah has continued in his father’s tradition as an ally of the U.S. and a statesman advocating for peace, said Heather J. Sharkey, a professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Kristin E. Holmes,, "Philly-based Templeton Foundation awards $1.45 million religion prize to Jordan's King Abdullah II," 26 June 2018 Even the party’s voters know that these men aren’t great statesmen. Josephine Huetlin, The New Republic, "Why Do Populists Frequently Get Away With Corruption?," 25 June 2018

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

1592, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about statesman

Statistics for statesman

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for statesman

The first known use of statesman was in 1592

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for statesman



English Language Learners Definition of statesman

: a usually wise, skilled, and respected government leader


states·​man | \ˈstāts-mən \
plural statesmen\-​mən \

Kids Definition of statesman

: a usually wise, skilled, and respected government leader

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on statesman

Spanish Central: Translation of statesman

Nglish: Translation of statesman for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of statesman for Arabic Speakers

Comments on statesman

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


to make faulty or ineffective

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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!