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A usually expansionist national policy having as its sole principle advancement of the national interest.

[German : real, practical (from Late Latin reālis, real; see real1) + Politik, politics (from French politique, political, policy; see politic).]

re·al′po′li·tik′er n.


(Government, Politics & Diplomacy) a ruthlessly realistic and opportunist approach to statesmanship, rather than a moralistic one, esp as exemplified by Bismarck
[C19: German: politics of realism]


(reɪˈɑlˌpoʊ lɪˌtik, ri-)

(often cap.) political realism or practical politics, esp. policy based on power rather than ideals.
[1910–15; < German, =real real1 + Politik politics, policy; see politic]


realism in politics, especially policies or actions based on considerations of power rather than ideals.
See also: Politics


1. A German word meaning politics of realism, used to mean a cynical policy of pursuing a state’s own interests.
2. An approach to politics that is not idealistic but ruthlessly opportunistic, especially in advancing the interests of a country.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.realpolitik - politics based on practical rather than moral or ideological considerations
political science, politics, government - the study of government of states and other political units
References in periodicals archive ?
The key, in this final stretch of talks, is for all parties to leave the comfort zone of usual realpolitik bargaining and overcome divisions inherited form the past, he added.
Needless to say, Merkel has defined her decennial legacy as chancellor through moral finesse, calculated practicality and realpolitik.
And here is where the realpolitik comes into play: The aim is to avoid making Erdoy-an angry so that a solution can be found to the Syrian refugee crisis.
I think it is high time for us to discuss realpolitik, which is defined as "politics based on practical and material factors rather than on theoretical or ethical objectives" (political dictionary).
Merkel is a pragmatic politician who practices realpolitik.
In realpolitik, such steps are necessary for one's survival, as emotions are of no value when it comes to geostrategic interests.
Given ongoing white resistance and the sad realities of America's current partisan politics, it will take realpolitik even more than morality or enlightenment for the UNHRC to come up with such an overdue report.
Brazil used to be the guardians of the beautiful game, Germany the ruthless, clinical champions of football realpolitik.
Anna Hazare ' ditching' the TMC chief after backing her as PM candidate suggests she is yet to learn the art of realpolitik
Anyone who does not acknowledge this basic principle might make a good church leader but not a practitioner of realpolitik.
But good intentions don't count for much in a world dominated by Realpolitik.