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 year the program turned to Justice Stephen Breyer, who has thought deeply about judicial power, the rule of law and the role of the judiciary in the American polity. Bryan A. Garner, WSJ, 7 Sep. 2021 There is also a debate whether to build an emirate or a caliphate, with the Taliban pursuing an Islamic polity within Afghanistan while ISIS seeks a single state for the entire Muslim world. Kamran Bokhari, WSJ, 27 Aug. 2021 The intensity of this divide is driven largely by the zeal of the right and its appetite to remake the polity in its image, leaving Democrats and liberals as defenders of the American political system. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 11 Aug. 2021 Haiti, a morass of anarchy and poverty that was barely a polity before, has now descended into complete mayhem following the assassination of its president, Jovenel Moïse. Niall Ferguson Bloomberg Opinion, Star Tribune, 31 July 2021 The purpose of this strategy is to transform the West Bank’s fragmented and fragile network of autonomous islands into a contiguous and prosperous polity. Micah Goodman, WSJ, 14 July 2021 Favereau, in her admiration for the Horde’s polity, lays her emphasis elsewhere: on the increasing energy of Russian commercial life under Mongol governance, and even on some political interdependence. Colin Thubron, The New York Review of Books, 6 July 2021 These ruins are the remnants of the Bokoni polity, a region that contains the southernmost collection of stone terrace farming sites in Africa. Alex Schoeman, Quartz, 29 May 2021 Every Bamileke polity is headed by a chief or king. Jeanine Hays, House Beautiful, 17 June 2021

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

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

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Last Updated

11 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Polity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polity. Accessed 24 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for polity



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

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


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