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political definition


This page has 7 definitions of political in English. Political is an adjective and noun. Examples of how to use political in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .


Alternative forms


politic +‎ -al


  • IPA(key): /pəˈlɪtɪkəl/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: po‧lit‧i‧cal


political (comparative more political, superlative most political)

  1. Concerning or relating to politics, the art and process of governing.
    Political principles are rarely absolute, as political logic holds an imperfect result by compromise is better than a theoretically perfect abstention from the political process in the opposition.
    • 1915, G[eorge] A. Birmingham [pseudonym; James Owen Hannay], chapter I, in Gossamer, New York, N.Y.: George H. Doran Company, OCLC 5661828:
      As a political system democracy seems to me extraordinarily foolish, but I would not go out of my way to protest against it. My servant is, so far as I am concerned, welcome to as many votes as he can get. I would very gladly make mine over to him if I could.
    • 2012 January 1, Philip E. Mirowski, “Harms to Health from the Pursuit of Profits”, in American Scientist, volume 100, number 1, page 87:
      In an era when political leaders promise deliverance from decline through America’s purported preeminence in scientific research, the news that science is in deep trouble in the United States has been as unwelcome as a diagnosis of leukemia following the loss of health insurance.
    • 2012 November 7, Matt Bai, “Winning a Second Term, Obama Will Confront Familiar Headwinds”, in New York Times[1]:
      That brief moment after the election four years ago, when many Americans thought Mr. Obama’s election would presage a new, less fractious political era, now seems very much a thing of the past.
  2. Concerning a polity or its administrative components.
    Good political staff is hard to find, they may neither be ambitious and corrupted by power nor tempted by private sector careers.
  3. (derogatory) Motivated, especially inappropriately, by political (electoral or other party political) calculation.
    “The Court invalidates Minnesota’s political apparel ban based on its inability to define the term ‘political'
  4. Of or relating to views about social relationships that involve power or authority.
  5. (of a person) Interested in politics.



Derived terms

Related terms


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political (plural politicals)

  1. A political agent or officer.
    • 1990, Peter Hopkirk, The Great Game, Folio Society 2010, p. 265:
      One such officer was Count Nikolai Ignatiev, a brilliant and ambitious political, who enjoyed the ear of the Tsar and burned to settle his country's scores with the British.
  2. A publication focusing on politics.


  • political at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • political in Keywords for Today: A 21st Century Vocabulary, edited by The Keywords Project, Colin MacCabe, Holly Yanacek, 2018.
  • political in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911