noun (used with a singular or plural verb)

  1. the science or art of political government.
  2. the practice or profession of conducting political affairs.
  3. political affairs: The advocated reforms have become embroiled in politics.
  4. political methods or maneuvers: We could not approve of his politics in winning passage of the bill.
  5. political principles or opinions: We avoided discussion of religion and politics. His politics are his own affair.
  6. use of intrigue or strategy in obtaining any position of power or control, as in business, university, etc.
  7. (initial capital letter, italics) a treatise (4th century b.c.) by Aristotle, dealing with the structure, organization, and administration of the state, especially the city-state as known in ancient Greece.
  1. play politics,
    1. to engage in political intrigue, take advantage of a political situation or issue, resort to partisan politics, etc.; exploit a political system or political relationships.
    2. to deal with people in an opportunistic, manipulative, or devious way, as for job advancement.


  1. (functioning as singular) the practice or study of the art and science of forming, directing, and administrating states and other political units; the art and science of government; political science
  2. (functioning as singular) the complex or aggregate of relationships of people in society, esp those relationships involving authority or power
  3. (functioning as plural) political activities or affairsparty politics
  4. (functioning as singular) the business or profession of politics
  5. (functioning as singular or plural) any activity concerned with the acquisition of power, gaining one’s own ends, etccompany politics are frequently vicious
  6. (functioning as plural) opinions, principles, sympathies, etc, with respect to politicshis conservative politics
  7. (functioning as plural)
    1. the policy-formulating aspects of government as distinguished from the administrative, or legal
    2. the civil functions of government as distinguished from the military

1520s, “science of government,” from politic (adj.), modeled on Aristotle’s ta politika “affairs of state,” the name of his book on governing and governments, which was in English mid-15c. as “Polettiques.” Also see -ics.

Politicks is the science of good sense, applied to public affairs, and, as those are forever changing, what is wisdom to-day would be folly and perhaps, ruin to-morrow. Politicks is not a science so properly as a business. It cannot have fixed principles, from which a wise man would never swerve, unless the inconstancy of men’s view of interest and the capriciousness of the tempers could be fixed. [Fisher Ames (1758-1808)]

Meaning “a person’s political allegiances or opinions” is from 1769.

see play politics.

55 queries 0.543