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1. (used with a sing. verb)
a. The art or science of government or governing, especially the governing of a political entity, such as a nation, and the administration and control of its internal and external affairs.
b. Political science.
2. (used with a sing. or pl. verb)
a. The activities or affairs engaged in by a government, politician, or political party: "Our politics has been corrupted by money and suffused with meanness" (Peter Edelman)."Politics have appealed to me since I was at Oxford because they are exciting morning, noon, and night" (Jeffrey Archer).
b. The methods or tactics involved in managing a state or government: The politics of the former regime were rejected by the new government leadership. If the politics of the conservative government now borders on the repressive, what can be expected when the economy falters?
3. (used with a sing. or pl. verb) Political life: studied law with a view to going into politics; felt that politics was a worthwhile career.
4. (used with a sing. or pl. verb) Intrigue or maneuvering within a political unit or a group in order to gain control or power: Partisan politics is often an obstruction to good government. Office politics are often debilitating and counterproductive.
5. (used with a sing. or pl. verb) Political attitudes and positions: His politics on that issue is his own business. Your politics are clearly more liberal than mine.
6. (used with a sing. or pl. verb) The often internally conflicting interrelationships among people in a society.
Usage Note: Politics, although plural in form, takes a singular verb when used to refer to the art or science of governing or to political science: Politics has been a concern of philosophers since Plato. But in its other senses politics can take either a singular or plural verb. Many other nouns that end in -ics behave similarly, and the user is advised to consult specific entries for precise information.
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.


1. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) (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. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) (functioning as singular) the complex or aggregate of relationships of people in society, esp those relationships involving authority or power
3. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) (functioning as plural) political activities or affairs: party politics.
4. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) (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, etc: company politics are frequently vicious.
6. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) (functioning as plural) opinions, principles, sympathies, etc, with respect to politics: his conservative politics.
7. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) (functioning as plural)
a. the policy-formulating aspects of government as distinguished from the administrative, or legal
b. the civil functions of government as distinguished from the military
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈpɒl ɪ tɪks)

n. (used with a sing. or pl. v.)
1. the science or art of political government.
2. the practice or profession of conducting political affairs.
3. political affairs.
4. political methods or maneuvers.
5. political principles or opinions.
6. the use of strategy or intrigue in obtaining power, control, or status.
play politics,
a. to engage in political intrigue.
b. to deal with people in an opportunistic or manipulative way, as for job advancement.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


See also government.

the attitude of taking an active part in events, especially in a social context. — activist, n.
the doctrine of an equal division of landed property and the advancement of agricultural groups. Also called agrarian reform. — agrarian, adj.
an attempt, through the construction of conceptual frameworks, to develop a science of political parties.
opposition to doctrines on citizenship, especially those promulgated in France during the French Revolution. — anticivic, adj.
opposition to the Jacobins, one of the revolutionary parties of the French revolution; by extension, the term denotes opposition to the French Revolution and any of its supporters. — anti-Jacobin, n.
the quality of being opposed to the establishment or maintenance of a governmental military force. — antimilitarist, n.antimilitaristic, adj.
the techniques, policies, and training of special police who deal with terrorists, especially those who take hostages. — antiterrorist, adj.
the holding of no particular belief, creed, or political position. Cf. nothingarianism. — anythingarian, n.
a devotion to Arab interests, custom, culture, ideals, and political goals.
a follower of Arnold of Brescia, 12th-century Italian political reformer, especially his attacks upon clerical riches and corruption and upon the temporal power of the pope.
independent self-rule free from outside influence.
a social and political doctrine advocating egalitarianism and communism. — Babouvist, n.
the state of being composed of members of two parties or of two parties cooperating, as in government. — bipartisan, adj.
the practice, during war, of promoting propaganda and defeatist activities favoring an enemy country.
1. support of the actions and doctrines of Napoleon Bonaparte.
2. the desire for a leader to emulate Napoleon Bonaparte. — Bonapartist, n.
U.S. Slang, the practice of bribery or illicit payments, especially to or from a politician. Also boodling. — boodier, n.
U.S. a control by bosses, especially political bosses.
1. an adherence to the ideas and system of government developed by the Bourbons.
2. an extreme conservatism, especially in politics. — Bourbonist, n.Bourbonian, Bourbonic, adj.
the technique or practice in foreign policy of manipulating a dangerous situation to the limits of tolerance or safety in order to secure advantage, especially by creating diplomatic crises.
the characteristics shown by a dictatorship or imperial authority. — Caesarist, n.
a theory or system in which property and investment in busines; are owned and controlled by individuals directly or through ownership of shares in companies. Cf. communism. — capitalist, n., adj.capitalistic, adj.
adherence to Don Carlos of Spain and to his successors. — Carlist, n.
the doctrines and policies of Fidel Castro, communist premier of Cuba.
adherence to a middle-of-the-road position, neither left nor right, as in politics. — centrist, adj., n.
the principles of a movement or party of English political reformers, chiefly workingmen, from 1838 to 1848, advocating better working and social conditions for laborers in its People’s Charter (1838). — Chartist, n.
the doctrine that all citizens have the same rights and obligations.
Obsolete, a person who studies politics.
a system of political clubs, especially the clubs of the French Revolution. — clubbist, n.clubbish, adj.
the political doctrines of Richard Cobden, who believed in peace and the withdrawal from European competition for balance of power.
the socialist principle of control by the state of all means of productive or economic activity. — collectivist, n., adj.collectivistic, adj.
1. a theory or system of organization in which the major political and social units are self-governing communes, and the nation is merely a federation of such groups.
2. the principles or practices of communal ownership. Cf. communism, socialism. — communalist, n.communalistic, adj.
a theory or system in which all property is owned by all of the people equally, with its administration vested by them in the state or in the community. Cf. capitalism. — communist, n., adj.communistic, adj.
1. the disposition to retain what is established and to practice a policy of gradualism rather than abrupt change. Cf. radicalism.
2. the principles and practices of political conservatives, especially of the British Conservative party. — conservative, n., adj.
1. the principles of the form of government defined by a constitution.
2. an adherence to these principles.
3. constitutional rule or authority. — constitutionalist, n.
1. an attitude or policy of favoritism or partiality to a continent.
2. a policy advocating a restriction of political or economie relations to the countries of one continent. — continentalist, n.
a person who practices or advocates corruption, especially in politics or public life.
favoritism, especially in the giving of political appointments.
the habits and principles of nonrevolutionaries, of the bourgeoisie. Cf. sansculottism. — culottic, adj.
1. an autocratic government.
2. dictatorship. Also spelled tzarism, tsarism.czarist, n., adj.
one of those who conspired to overthrow Russian Czar Nicholas I in December, 1825. Also Dekebrist.
the art and practice of gaining power and popularity by arousing the emotions, passions, and prejudices of the people. Also demagoguery.
a doctrine of or belief in social equality or the right of all people to participate equally in politics.
1. the policy of being sectarian in spirit, especially in carrying out religious policy.
2. the tendency to separate or cause to separate into sects or denominations. — denominationalist, n., adj.
advocacy of the division of something, such as an educational institution, into departments. — departmentalization, n.
the actions used by a saboteur against his own government and military forces. — diversionist, n.diversionary, adj.
the activity of terrorists who use dynamite to blow up public places.
a social and political philosophy asserting the equality of all men, especially in their access to the rights and privileges of their society. Also equalitarianism.egalitarian, n., adj.
a form of state socialism.
a policy of expansion, as of territory or currency. — expansionist, n., adj.expansionistic, adj.
the state or quality of being partisan or self-interested. — factional, adj.factionalist, n.
the doctrines and practices of the Spanish fascist party. — Falangist, n., adj.
the beliefs and activities of the followers of the Marquis de Lafayette.
the principles and practices of an Irish revolutionary organization founded in New York in 1858, especially its emphasis on the establishment of an independent Irish republic. — Fenian, n., adj.
(in France) a member of a club of constitutional monarchists, named after their meeting place at Notre Dame des Feuillants.
the principles of the Free Soil party (1846-56), which opposed the extension of slavery into any new territories of the United States. — Free Soiler, n.
the quality of having a coalition between certain political parties. — fusionist, n.
the principles of Mohandas K. Gandhi, Indian political and spiritual leader, especially his advocacy of passive resistance and noncooperation to achieve social and political reforms. — Gandhist, Gandhiist, n.Candhian, adj.
1. the principles and policies of Charles de Gaulle during World War II in support of the Free French and opposed to the Vichy regime.
2. the political principles, chiefly conservative and nationalistic, of de Gaulle as French president, 1959-69. — Gaullist, n., adj.
1. the study or application of the effect of political or economic geography on the political structure, programs, or philosophy of a state.
2. a policy or policies based on such factors.
3. the complex of geographical and political factors affecting or determining the nature of a state or region.
4. the study of the relationship between geography and politics, applied especially to the study of the doctrines and actions of Nazi Germany in the context of world domination. — geopolitician, n.geopolitical, adj.
the principles of the imperial and aristocratic party of medieval Italy, especially their support of the German emperors. Cf. Guelphism. — Ghibelline, n., adj.
a form of mild republicanism in France, 1791-1793, led by natives of the Gironde. — Girondist, n., adj.
the principle or policy of achieving a goal, as political or economic, by gradual steps rather than by sudden and drastic innovation. Cf. conservatism, radicalism. — gradualist, n., adj.gradualistic, adj.
the principles and practices of the papal and popular party in medieval Italy. Cf. Ghibellinism. — Guelphic, Guelfic, adj.
the principles of Marxian socialism as interpreted by the French socialist, editor, and writer Jules Guesde. — Guesdist, n., adj.
the political theories, doctrines, or policies of Alexander Hamilton, especially federalism, strong central government, and protective tariffs. — Hamiltonian, n., adj.
the condition of being under the rule or domination of another.
the body of doctrine, myth, symbol, etc., with reference to some political or cultural plan, as that of communism, along with the procedures for putting it into operation. — ideologist, idealogue, n.ideologic, ideological, adj.
opposition to liberalism.
1. the system of institutions or organized societies devoted to public, political, or charitable, or similar purposes.
2. a strong attachment to established institutions, as political systems or religions. — institutionalist, n.
the state of being an insurgent or rebel; the activities of insurgents or rebels.
1. the belief in cooperation between nations for the common good.
2. advocacy of this concept, — internationalist, n., adj.
Rare. the holding of mutual citizenship.
the doctrine supporting intervention, especially in international affairs and the politics of other countries. — interventionist, n., adj.
1. a national policy advocating the acquisition of some region in another country by reason of common linguistic, cultural, historical, ethnic, or racial ties.
2. (cap.) the policies of a 19th-century Italian party that sought to annex parts of certain neighboring regions with chiefly Italian populations. — irredentist, n., adj.
the policy or doctrine directed toward the isolation of a country from the affairs of other nations by a deliberate abstention from political, military, and economic agreements. — isolationist, n.
the possession of equal political and legal rights by all citizens of a state.
the granting of equal or reciprocal political rights by different countries to each other’s citizens. — isopolite, n.isopolitical, adj.
the practices of the Jacobins, a political group advocating equalitarian democracy during the French Revolution. — Jacobin, n.Jacobinic, adj.
the political theories, doctrines, or policies of Thomas Jefferson, especially rigid interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, belief in an agrarian economy, states’ rights, and in the political acumen of the ordinary citizen. — Jeffersonian, adj.
a policy of self-sacrificing and determined radicalism. — jusquaboutist, n., adj.
the autocratie political system and policies of a German kaiser.
the religious and political doctrines of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (1900?-), who founded the Islamic Republic in Iran in 1979.
doctrines of the American Party (1853-1856), the main goal of which was to bar foreign-born citizens from participating in government. — know-nothing, n.
a radical or liberal position or doctrine, especially in politics. — leftist, n., adj.
1. a political or social philosophy advocating the f reedom of the individual, parliamentary legislatures, governmental assurances of civil liberties and individual rights, and nonviolent modification of institutions to permit continued individual and social progress.
2. the principles and practice of a liberal political party. — liberalist, n., adj.liberalistic, adj.
the principles of the liberationists, an English society opposed to a state or established church and favoring disestablishment. — liberationist, n.
the practice of influencing legislators to favor special interests. — lobbyist, n.
the doctrines of the Locofocos, a radical faction of the New York City Democrats, organized in 1835 to oppose the conservatives in the party. — Locofoco, n., adj.
1. a dedication to the British cause during the American revolution; Toryism.
2. an adherence to the cause of the republic during the Spanish Civil War. — Loyalist, n., adj.
1. the principles of government set forth in The Prince by Machiavelli, in which political expediency is exalted above morality and the use of er aft and deceit to maintain authority or to effectuate policy is recommended. Also Machiavellism.
2. activity characterized by subtle cunning, duplicity, or bad faith. — Machiavellian, n., adj.
the principles and attitudes of Daniel F. Malan, prime minister of the Union of South Africa (1948-54), whose policies of apartheid and Afrikander supremacy were first made law during his term of office.
1. U.S. the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, especially of pro-Communist activity, often unsupported or based on doubtful evidence.
2. any attempt to restrict political criticism or individual dissent by claiming it to be unpatriotic or pro-Communist.
an attitude of sympathy towards the Medes (Persians), held by some Greeks in the 6th and 5th centuries B.C.
1. the principle of maintaining a large military establishment.
2. the policy of regarding military efficiency as the supreme ideal of the state, and the subordinating of all other ideals to those of the military. Also militaryism.militarist, n.militaristic, adj.
the principle or policy of moderation, especially in politics and international relations. — moderantist, n.
1. the practice of independence, especially in politics.
2. an inability to make up one’s mind, especially in politics; neutrality on controversial issues. Also mugwumpery.mugwump, n.mugwumpian, mugwumpish, adj.
a doctrine that lays stress on the importance of the multitude instead of the individual. — multitudinist, n., adj.multitudinal, adj.
the principles and practices of the National Socialist Workers’ party under Adolf Hitler from 1933 to 1945. — Nazi, n., adj.
the advancement and advocacy of equal rights for Negroes. — negrophilist, n.negrophile, adj.
domination of a small or weak country by a large or strong one without the assumption of direct government. — neocolonialist, n., — neocolonial, adj.
a new movement in conservatism, usually seen as a move further to the right of the position currently occupied by conservatives in politics or in attitudes. — neoconservative, n., adj.
a movement that modifies classical liberalism in light of 20th-century conditions.
the practice or policy of remaining neutral in foreign affairs. — neutralist, n.
the doctrine that governments should not interfere in the politics of other countries. — noninterventionist, n., adj.
the practice or policy of nonsupport for established or regular political parties. Also nonpartisanship. — nonpartisan, n., adj.
the holding of no belief, creed, or political position. Cf. anythingarianism. — nothingarian, n.
the doctrine or advocacy of alliance or cooperation among all African states. — Pan-Africanist, n., adj.
the idea of a single state including all of North and South America.
the doctrine or advocacy of alliance or cooperation among all Arab states. — Pan-Arabist, n., adj.
a 19th-century political movement whose aim was the unification of all Germans.
an action or spirit of partiality for a specific political party. Also partisanship. — partisan, n., adj.
1. the system of political parties.
2. a strong adherence to a party. — partyist, n.
1. the state or quality of being passive.
2. the doctrine or advocacy of a passive policy, as passive resistance. — passivist, n.
the principles and doctrines of political economists following the ideas of Francois Quesnay in holding that an inherent natural order adequately controlled society and advocating a laissezfaire economy based on land as the best system to prevent interference with natural laws. — physiocrat, n. — physiocratic, adj.
the policies of William Pitt the Younger, chief minister under King George III of England and sympathizer with the colonies during the American Revolution. — Pittite, n.
1. Ecclesiastic. the holding of two or more church offices by a single person.
2. the state or condition of a common civilization in which various ethnic, racial, or religious groups are free to participate in and develop their common cultures.
3. a policy or principle supporting such cultural plurality. — pluralist, n. — pluralistic, adj.
a mania for politics.
the study of politics; political science. Also politicology. — politologist, n. — politological, adj.
the existence of a number of basic guiding principles in the political system of a Communist government.
1. the doctrine that sovereign power is vested in the people and that those chosen by election to govern or to represent must conform to the will of the people.
2. U.S. History. a doctrine, held chiefly before 1865 by antiabolitionists, that new territories should be free of federal interference in domestic matters, especially concerning slavery.
1. the principles and doctrines of any political party asserting that it represents the rank and file of the people.
2. (cap.) the principles and doctrines of a late 19th-century American party, especially its support of agrarian interests and a silver coinage. — populist, n., adj. — populistic, adj.
domination of government by prostitutes, especially in reference to the Roman government in the flrst half of the lOth century.
1. Also called progressionism, progressism. the principles and practices of those advocating progress, change, or reform, especially in political matters.
2. (cap.) the doctrines and beliefs of the Progressive party in America. — progressivist, n.
the practices, attitudes, social status, or political condition of an unpropertied class dependent for support on daily or casual labor. — proletarian, n., adj.
the principle of electing officials by proportionality. — proportionalist, n., adj.
the study of elections. — psephologist, n. — psephological, adj.
the traitorous rejection of one’s native country foliowed by the acceptance of a position of authority in the government of an occupying power. — quisling, n.
1. the holding or following of principles advocating drastic political, economie, or social reforms. Cf. conservatism, gradualism.
2. the principles or practices of radicals. — radical, n., adj.
realism in politics, especially policies or actions based on considerations of power rather than ideals.
the beliefs of rioters in South Wales in 1843-44, who were led by a man dressed as a woman and called Rebecca. — Rebeccaite, n.
the doctrine or movement of reform whether it be social, moral, or of any other type. — reformist, n. — reformistic, adj.
adherence to reactionary politics. — retrogradist, n., adj.
the support or advocacy of a royal government. — royalist, n., adj. — royalistic, adj.
any extreme republican or revolutionary principles. Cf. culottism. — sanscullotist, n. — sanscullotic, sanscullotish, adj.
the doctrines and practices of the secessionists. — secessionist, n., adj. — secessional, adj.
an advocacy of separation, especially ecclesiastical or political separation, as the secession of U.S. states before the Civl War. — separatist, n., adj.
a secret Mexican counterrevolutionary movement, advocating the return to Christian social standards and opposing communism, labor unions, conscription, and Pan-Americanism. — Sinarquist, n.
fear or hatred of things Slavic, especially of real or imagined political influence. — Slavophobe, n. — Slavophobic, adj.
1. a theory or system of social organization advocating placing the ownership and control of capital, land, and means of production in the community as a whole. Cf. utopian socialism.
2. the procedures and practices based upon this theory.
3. Marxist theory. the first stage in the transition from capitalism to communism, marked by imperfect realizations of collectivist principles. — socialist, n., adj. — socialistic, adj.
1. a member of a German socialist party founded in 1918.
2. an extreme socialist. [Allusion to Spartacus, leader of a slave revolt against Rome, 73-71 B.C.]
the principles and actions characteristic of one who is a strong partisan of a cause. — stalwart, n.
extreme conservatism.
militant advocacy of suffrage for women. Cf. suffragism.
any advocacy of the granting or extension of the suffrage to those now denied it, especially to women. — suffragist, n.
1. an economic system in which workers own and manage an industry.
2. a revolutionary form or development of trade unionism, originating in France, aiming at possession and control of the means of production and distribution and the establishment of a corporate society governed by trade unions and workers’ cooperatives. — syndicalist, n. — syndicalistic, adj.
1. the activities and principles of Tammany Hall, a powerful New York City Democratic political society of the 1800s, founded as a benevolent organization, which later deteriorated into a force for political patronage and corruption.
2. activities or beliefs similar to those of Tammany Hall. — Tammanyite, n., adj.
1. the principle of the political predominance of the landed classes; landlordism.
2. the theory of church policy vesting supreme ecclesiastical authority in a civil government, as in 16th-century Germany. Also called territorial system. — territorialist, n.
1. a method of government or of resisting government involving domination or coercion by various forms of intimidation, as bombing or kidnapping.
2. the state of fear and terror so produced. — terrorist, n., adj. — terroristic, adj.
1. a support of the British cause during the American Revolution.
2. an advocacy of conservative principles opposed to reform and radicalism.
3. the actions of dispossessed Irishmen in the 17th century who were declared outlaws and noted for their outrages and cruelty.
4. the principles of a conservative British party in power until 1832. — Tory, n., adj., — Toryish, adj.
the condition in a nation of having two political parties with equal voting strength and little opposition from other parties.
extreme conservatism, especially in politics. — ultraconservative, n., adj.
1. the principles of those who advocate extreme points of view or actions, as radicalism.
2. extremist activities. — ultraist, n., adj. — ultraistic, adj.
the state or condition of being out of sympathy with or against an ideal of American behavior, attitudes, beliefs, etc. — un-American, n., adj.
an economie theory based on the premise that voluntary surrender by capital of the means of production would bring about the end of poverty and unemployment. Cf. socialism.
1. any underhanded, illegal, unethical, or dishonest political practice or action.
2. behavior attempting to conceal such practices or action.
Rare. government or rule by Whigs.
the doctrines and activities of the Irish Whiteboys, a secret agrarian society formed in 1761 to fight high rents [from the white shirts worn by the members at night for identification]. — Whiteboy, n.
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


  1. The body politic, like the human body, begins to die from its birth, and bears in itself the causes of its destruction —Jean Jacques Rousseau
  2. A cannibal is a good deal like a Democrat, they are forced to live off each other —Will Rogers, weekly newspaper article, April 14, 1929
  3. The Democratic party is like a man riding backward in a railroad car; it never sees anything until it has got past it —Thomas B. Reed
  4. The Democratic party is like a mule, without pride of ancestry or hope of posterity —Emory Storrs
  5. The Democrats are like someone at a funeral who just found out they won the lottery —Eleanor Clift, McLaughlin Group television show, December 28, 1986

    The comparison was made during a discussion of the Iran Contra aid scandal.

  6. Elections … are like mosquitoes, you can’t very well fight ‘em off without cussing ‘em —Will Rogers, letter to Los Angeles Times, November 10, 1932
  7. In politics as in religion, it so happens that we have less charity for those who believe the half of our creed, than for those that deny the whole —Charles Caleb Colton
  8. In politics, as in womanizing, failure is decisive. It sheds its retrospective gloom on earlier endeavor which at the time seemed full of promise —Malcolm Muggeridge
  9. Like American beers, presidential candidates these days are all pretty much the same, heavily watered for blandness, and too much gas —Russell Baker
  10. A man running for public office is like a deceived husband; he is usually the last person to realize the true state of affairs —Robert Traver
  11. A man without a vote is, in this land, like a man without a hand —Henry Ward Beecher
  12. Merchandise candidates for high office like breakfast cereal … gather votes like box tops —Adlai Stevenson

    In his August 18, 1956 speech accepting the presidential nomination, Stevenson used this double simile to verbally shake his head at the idea that politics is just like product merchanding.

  13. Ministers fall like buttered bread; usually on the good side —Ludwig Boerne
  14. One revolution is just like one cocktail; it just gets you organized for the next —Will Rogers
  15. Patronage personnel are like a broken gun, you can’t make them work, and you can’t fire them —Peter Dominick, from the monthly newsletter of Senator Dominick, August, 1966
  16. Political elections … are a good deal like marriages, there’s no accounting for anyone’s taste —Will Rogers, weekly newspaper article, May 10, 1925
  17. Political rhetoric has become, like advertising, audible wallpaper, always there but rarely noticed —George F. Will
  18. A politician is like quick-silver; if you try to put your finger on him, you find nothing under it —Austin O’Malley
  19. Politicians are like drunks. We’re the ones who have to clean up after them —Bryan Forbes
  20. Politicians are like the bones of a horse’s foreshoulder, not a straight one in it —Wendell Phillips, 1864 speech
  21. Politics are almost as exciting as war, and quite as dangerous —Sir Winston Churchill

    Churchill followed up the simile with, “In war you can only be killed once, but in politics many times.”

  22. Politics are like a labyrinth, from the inner intricacies of which it is even more difficult to find the way of escape than it was to find the way into them —William E. Gladstone
  23. Politics is like a circus wrestling match —Nikita S. Khrushchev
  24. Politics is like a race horse. A good jockey must know how to fall with the least possible damage —Edouard Herriot
  25. Politics is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to understand the game and dumb enough to think it’s important —Eugene McCarthy
  26. Politics is like waking up in the morning. You never know whose head you will find on the pillow —Winston Churchill
  27. Politics, like religion, hold up the torches of martyrdom to the reformers of error —Thomas Jefferson
  28. Presidential appointments are left to us like bad debts after death —Janet Flanner
  29. Professional politicians are like chain smokers, lighting a new campaign on the butt of the old one —Steven V. Roberts, New York Times, November 24, 1986

    This was the only simile in Roberts’ article. Yet, as is so often the case, it was the phrase highlighted as a boxed blurb to get reader attention.

  30. The public is like a piano. You just have to know what keys to poke —John Dewey
  31. The pursuit of politics is like chasing women: the expense is damnable, the position ridiculous, the pleasure fleeting —Robert Traver
  32. Running for public office was not unlike suffering a heart attack; overnight one’s whole way of life had abruptly to be changed —Robert Traver
  33. So long as we read about revolutions in books, they all look very nice … like those landscapes which, as artistic engravings on white vellum, look so pure and friendly —Heinrich Heine
  34. (They said) the range of political thinking is round, like the face of a clock —Tony Ardizzone
  35. A voter without a ballot is like a soldier without a bullet —Dwight D. Eisenhower, New York Times Book Review, October 27, 1957
  36. Watching foreign affairs is sometimes like watching a magician; the eye is drawn to the hand performing the dramatic flourishes, leaving the other hand, the one doing the important job, unnoticed —David K. Shipler, New York Times, March 15, 1987
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. 'politics'

The noun politics is usually used to refer to the methods by which people get, keep, and use power in a country or society.

She is interested in a career in politics.
Her parents never discussed politics.

When politics is used like this, you can use either a singular or plural form of a verb with it. It is more common to use a singular form.

Politics is sometimes about compromise.
American politics are very interesting.

Politics can refer to a particular set of beliefs about how countries should be governed or power should be used. When you use politics like this, you use a plural form of a verb with it.

I think his politics are are quite conservative.

Politics can also refer to the study of the ways in which countries are governed, and of the ways in which people get and use power. When you use politics like this, you must use a singular form of a verb with it.

Politics is often studied together with Economics.
2. 'policy'

There is no noun 'politic'. To refer to a course of action or plan that has been agreed upon by a government or political party, use policy.

He criticized the government's education policy.
3. 'political'

Don't use 'politic' as an adjective to mean 'relating to politics'. Use political.

The government is facing a political crisis.
Do you belong to a political party?
Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.politics - social relations involving intrigue to gain authority or powerpolitics - social relations involving intrigue to gain authority or power; "office politics is often counterproductive"
social relation - a relation between living organisms (especially between people)
wilderness - (politics) a state of disfavor; "he led the Democratic party back from the wilderness"
2.politics - the study of government of states and other political unitspolitics - the study of government of states and other political units
bolt - a sudden abandonment (as from a political party)
politics - the profession devoted to governing and to political affairs
governing, government activity, government, governance, administration - the act of governing; exercising authority; "regulations for the governing of state prisons"; "he had considerable experience of government"
mandate - the commission that is given to a government and its policies through an electoral victory
patronage - (politics) granting favors or giving contracts or making appointments to office in return for political support
demonstration, manifestation - a public display of group feelings (usually of a political nature); "there were violent demonstrations against the war"
cabal, conspiracy - a plot to carry out some harmful or illegal act (especially a political plot)
social science - the branch of science that studies society and the relationships of individual within a society
geopolitics - the study of the effects of economic geography on the powers of the state
practical politics, realpolitik - politics based on practical rather than moral or ideological considerations
catechism - a series of question put to an individual (such as a political candidate) to elicit their views
nominating address, nominating speech, nomination - an address (usually at a political convention) proposing the name of a candidate to run for election; "the nomination was brief and to the point"
combination - an alliance of people or corporations or countries for a special purpose (formerly to achieve some antisocial end but now for general political or economic purposes)
Soviets - the government of the Soviet Union; "the Soviets said they wanted to increase trade with Europe"
civilization, civilisation - a society in an advanced state of social development (e.g., with complex legal and political and religious organizations); "the people slowly progressed from barbarism to civilization"
side - one of two or more contesting groups; "the Confederate side was prepared to attack"
assassin, assassinator, bravo - a murderer (especially one who kills a prominent political figure) who kills by a surprise attack and often is hired to do the deed; "his assassins were hunted down like animals"; "assassinators of kings and emperors"
muckraker, mudslinger - one who spreads real or alleged scandal about another (usually for political advantage)
fencesitter, independent, mugwump - a neutral or uncommitted person (especially in politics)
regular - a dependable follower (especially in party politics); "he is one of the party regulars"
coattails effect - (politics) the consequence of one popular candidate in an election drawing votes for other members of the same political party; "he counted on the coattails effect to win him the election"
war chest - a fund accumulated to finance a war (or a political campaign)
Sturm und Drang, upheaval, turbulence - a state of violent disturbance and disorder (as in politics or social conditions generally); "the industrial revolution was a period of great turbulence"
3.politics - the profession devoted to governing and to political affairs
profession - an occupation requiring special education (especially in the liberal arts or sciences)
political science, politics, government - the study of government of states and other political units
4.politics - the opinion you hold with respect to political questions
opinion, persuasion, sentiment, thought, view - a personal belief or judgment that is not founded on proof or certainty; "my opinion differs from yours"; "I am not of your persuasion"; "what are your thoughts on Haiti?"
5.politics - the activities and affairs involved in managing a state or a government; "unemployment dominated the politics of the inter-war years"; "government agencies multiplied beyond the control of representative politics"
activity - any specific behavior; "they avoided all recreational activity"
affairs - transactions of professional or public interest; "news of current affairs"; "great affairs of state"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. affairs of state, government, government policy, public affairs, civics He quickly involved himself in politics.
2. political beliefs, party politics, political allegiances, political leanings, political sympathies My politics are well to the left of centre.
3. political science, polity, statesmanship, civics, statecraft He studied politics and medieval history.
4. power struggle, machinations, opportunism, realpolitik, Machiavellianism He doesn't know how to handle office politics.
"Politics is the art of the possible" [Prince Otto von Bismarck]
"A week is a long time in politics" [Harold Wilson]
"Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable" [John Kenneth Galbraith Ambassador's Journal]
"Politics...has always been the systematic organisation of hatreds" [Henry Brooks Adams The Education of Henry Adams]
"Practical politics consists in ignoring facts" [Henry Brooks Adams The Education of Henry Adams]
"In politics the middle way is none at all" [John Adams]
"In politics, what begins in fear usually ends in folly" [Samuel Taylor Coleridge Table Talk]
"There is a holy mistaken zeal in politics as well as in religion. By persuading others, we convince ourselves" [Junius Public Advertiser]
"Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed" [Mao Tse-tung]
"Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary" [Robert Louis Stevenson Familiar Studies of Men and Books]
"Most schemes of political improvement are very laughable things" [Dr. Johnson]
"politics: a strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage" [Ambrose Bierce The Devil's Dictionary]
"Politics makes strange bedfellows"

Political parties

Australia  Australian Labor Party, Liberal Party of Australia, National Party of Australia
Austria  Freedom Party (FPÖ), People's Party (ÖVP), Socialist Party (SPÖ)
Belgium  Flemish Bloc (VB), Flemish Green Party (Agalev), French Green Party (Ecolo), Flemish Liberal Party (PVV), French Liberal Reform Party (PRL), Flemish Social Christian Party (CVP), French Social Christian Party (PSC), Flemish Socialist Party (SP), French Socialist Party (PS)
Canada  Bloc Quebecois, Liberal Party, New Democratic Party, Progressive Conservative, Reform Party, Social Credit Party
Denmark  Centre Democrats (CD), Christian People's Party (KrF), Conservative People's Party (KF), Left Socialists, Liberals (V), Progress Party (FP), Radical Liberals (RV), Social Democrats (SD), Socialist People's Party (SF)
Finland  Centre Party (KP), Democratic Alternative, Finnish People's Democratic League (SKDL), Finnish Rural Party (SMP), Green Party, National Coalition Party (KOK), Social Democratic Party (SD), Swedish People's Party (SFP)
France  Communist Party (PC), National Front, Rally for the Republic (RDR), Republican Party (PR), Socialist Party (PS), Union for French Democracy (UDF)
Germany  Christian-Democratic Union (CDU), Christian-Social Union (CSU), Free Democratic Party (FDP), Green Party, Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS), Social Democratic Party (SPD)
Greece  Greek Communist Party, New Democracy (ND), Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), Political Spring (Politiki Aniksi)
India  Congress (I), Janata Dal, Bharitiya Janata Party (BJP)
Irish Republic  Democratic Left, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour Party, Progressive Democrats
Israel  Labour Party, Likud
Italy  Centre Union, Christian Democrat Party, Democratic Party of the Left (PDS), Forza Italia, National Alliance, Northern League
Japan  Democratic Socialist Party, Liberal Democratic Party, Komeito, Social Democratic Party
Luxembourg  Communist Party, Democratic Party (PD), Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party (POSL), Christian Social Party (PCS)
Malta  Malta Labour Party, Nationalist Party
Mexico  Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), National Action Party (PAN), Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), Revolutionary Workers' Party
the Netherlands  Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), Labour Party (PvdA), People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD)
New Zealand  Labour Party, National Party
Northern Ireland  Democratic Unionist Party, Official Ulster Unionist Party, Sinn Féin, Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP)
Portugal  Democratic Renewal Party (PRD), Democratic Social Centre Party (CDS), Social Democratic Party (PSD), Socialist Party (PS)
South Africa  African National Congress (ANC), Inkatha Freedom Party, National Party, Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC)
Spain  Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), Convergencia i Uni (CiU), Herri Batasuna (HB), People's Party (PP), Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE), United Left (IU)
Sweden  Centre Party, Christian Democratic Party, Green Party, Left Party, Liberal Party, Moderate Party, Social Democratic Labour Party (SAP)
Turkey  Motherland Party (ANAP), Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK), Social Democratic Populist Party, True Path Party
United Kingdom (Mainland)  Conservative and Unionist Party, Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, Scottish National Party
United States of America  Democratic Party, Republican Party
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002
stjórnmál, pólitík
politikapolitikaspolitinispolitinis kalinyspolitinis prieglobstis
chính trị


A. NSING (= subject, career) → política f
to go into politicsdedicarse a la política, meterse en política
to talk politicshablar de política
1. (= views) → postura fsing política
office politicsrelaciones fpl de poder en la oficina
see also sexual B
2. (= political aspects) the politics of health carela política or los aspectos políticos de la asistencia médica
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈpɒlɪtɪks] n
(gen)politique f
I'm not interested in politics → La politique ne m'intéresse pas.
British politics → la vie politique britannique
the politics of Northern Ireland → la situation politique en Irlande du Nord local politics
(= academic subject) → politique f
(= political views) [person] → opinions fpl politiques
Her politics were radical → Ses opinions politiques étaient radicales.
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(+pl vb) (Pol) → Politik f; (= views)politische Ansichten pl; what are his politics?welche politischen Ansichten hat er?
(+sing or pl vb) (= political affairs, idea)Politik f; to be in politicsin der Politik sein; to go into politicsin die Politik gehen; to talk politicsüber Politik (acc)reden; to study politicsPolitik studieren; interested in politicspolitisch interessiert; to play politics (pej)große Politik spielen (pej); office politicsBürorangeleien pl; sexual politicsRangeleien plzwischen den Geschlechtern
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈpɒlɪtɪks] n (sg, career) → politica; (subject) → scienze fpl politiche; (pl, views, policies) → tendenze fpl, idee fpl politiche
to talk politics → parlare di politica
to go into politics → darsi alla politica
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(ˈpolitiks) noun singular or plural
the science or business of, or ideas about, or affairs concerning, government.
poˈlitical adjective
of, or concerning, politics. for political reasons; political studies.
poˈlitically adverb
poˌlitically corˈrect adjective
(also PC) (of language or behaviour) that does not offend particular groups of people. It is politically correct to use `he or she', and not just `he', when you mean a man or a woman.
ˌpoliˈtician (-ˈtiʃən) noun
a person whose job is politics; a member of parliament.
political asylum
protection given by a government to a foreigner who has left his own country for political reasons.
political prisoner
a person who has been imprisoned for political reasons and not for any crime.
political ˈscience noun
a field of study dealing with politics, government and other political institutions.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


عِلْمُ السِّياسَة politika politik Politik πολιτική política politiikka politique politika politica 政治 정치학 politiek politikk polityka política политика politik การเมือง politika chính trị 政治
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009
References in classic literature ?
The Politics of Aristotle is the second part of a treatise of which the Ethics is the first part.
Nor in any other of his writings is the attempt made to interweave life and speculation, or to connect politics with philosophy.
Miss Cornelia did not approve of his mixing up in politics and told Anne so.
He described his indifference to politics, his love of study, of the fine arts, of science, and of flowers.
There's only one way to do it: to go into politics."
From which she had attained a very competent skill in politics, and could discourse very learnedly on the affairs of Europe.
Sabin's, "are free from the tyranny of politics. I am assuming, of course, that your country under its present form of government has lost its hold upon you."
To be sure I often broke this rule, as people are apt to do with rules of the kind; it was not possible for a boy to wade through heavy articles relating to English politics and economics, but I do not think I left any paper upon a literary topic unread, and I did read enough politics, especially in Blackwood's, to be of Tory opinions; they were very fit opinions for a boy, and they did not exact of me any change in regard to the slavery question.
They had been doing this for some time, when an Eminent Statesman stuck his head out of the pool of politics, and, speaking for the members of his profession, said:
SEEING a ship sailing by upon the sea of politics, an Ambitious Person started in hot pursuit along the strand; but the people's eyes being fixed upon the Presidency no one observed the pursuer.
She knew, too, that he was really interested in books dealing with politics, philosophy, and theology, that art was utterly foreign to his nature; but, in spite of this, or rather, in consequence of it, Alexey Alexandrovitch never passed over anything in the world of art, but made it his duty to read everything.
Most of the Avonlea people were on Premier's side of politics; hence on the night of the meeting nearly all the men and a goodly proportion of the women had gone to town thirty miles away.