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n. pl. po·leis (-lās′)
A city-state of ancient Greece.

[Greek; see pelə- in Indo-European roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


n, pl poleis (ˈpɒlaɪs)
(Historical Terms) an ancient Greek city-state
[from Greek: city]


(Law) Scot and Irish the police or a police officer
[C19: a variant pronunciation of police]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈpoʊ lɪs)

n., pl. -leis (-līs).
an ancient Greek city-state.
[1890–95; < Greek pólis, pl. (Ionic) póleis]


a combining form meaning “city” (metropolis), often used in the formation of place names (Annapolis).
[comb. form representing Greek pólis polis]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


The Greek term for a city-state—an area dominated by and administered from a central fortifiable town.
Dictionary of Unfamiliar Words by Diagram Group Copyright © 2008 by Diagram Visual Information Limited
References in periodicals archive ?
In the Battle of Thermopylae, a small force composed of soldiers from Greek city-states (Sparta being the most known then) and led by Leonidas managed to initially repel a large Persian Army led by Xerxes.
In his account of the 27-year long Peloponnesian War, Thucydides discussed how fear affected the behavior of the ancient Greek city-states based on his observation of the protracted and devastating war between Athens and Sparta.
Their versions of the ancient Greek city-states, complete with open-air agorae, fluted marble columns and stunning marble architecture, are a joy to explore, with the return of warships allowing Alexios and Kassandra to explore the Aegean and accept military contracts for either the Athenians or the Spartans, thereby altering the influence they have in the immediate region.
This is presumed to be the closest thing to the democracy of the Greek City-states where the people gathered in the village square to take decisions.
They were also heirs to the classical tradition and thus knew that the establishment of the Republic in Rome or democracy in Greek city-states had not brought about an end to history.
He also looks into the regulation of war and force between Greek city-states, focusing on the era of the Peloponnesian War and drawing on the modern distinction between jus ad bellum, and jus in bello.
As a result of the concentration of political, military and economic power in the hands of a few who reigned over a number of successor kingdoms of what was once the vast empire Alexander had conquered, citizens in former Greek city-states overnight became 'idiotes' -- persons, stripped of the right to participate in their respective city's affairs, minding only their own business.
Because the Founders expended so much ink pointing out the flaws of democracy, as evidenced by the transient nature of many of the ancient Greek city-states, Athens in particular, we might be tempted to assume that there are no flaws inherent in that other cardinal form of popular government, the republic.
In my case, I found Scheidel's analysis of the relationship between citizenship, military obligations, warfare, and inequality in ancient Greek city-states to be fascinating and revealing.
During ancient times, a truce was established before and during the Games between the different Greek city-states in order to allow spectators and athletes to travel freely to the Games.
We only ask that the Israeli ambassador and Netanyahu reciprocate by coming up to speed on the coins of the Tyrians and Galileans and Nabateans and the coins of ancient Phoenician and the Greek city-states along the coast of Palestine, Galilee and Lebanon.
Their opponents not only had an immense superiority in numbers, but from the beginning also possessed an advantage in the general disunity of the Greek city-states. Thus, it took extraordinary political and strategic skill for a few Greek leaders to hold their fragile alliance together.