Webster 1913 Edition



Having, or conforming to, a settled system of administration.
“A political government.”
Of or pertaining to public policy, or to politics; relating to affairs of state or administration;
as, a
“The political state of Europe.”
Of or pertaining to a party, or to parties, in the state;
as, his
relations were with the Whigs
Politic; wise; also, artful.
Political economy
that branch of political science or philosophy which treats of the sources, and methods of production and preservation, of the material wealth and prosperity of nations.

Webster 1828 Edition



[supra.] Pertaining to policy, or to civil government and its administration. Political measures or affairs are measures that respect the government of a nation or state. So we say, political power or authority; political wisdom; a political scheme; political opinions. A good prince is the political father of his people. The founders of a state and wise senators are also called political fathers.
Pertaining to a nation or state, or to nations or states, as distinguished from civil or municipal; as in the phrase, political and civil rights, the former comprehending rights that belong to a nation, or perhaps to a citizen as an individual of a nation; and the latter comprehending the local rights of a corporation or any member of it.
Speaking of the political state of Europe, we are accustomed to say of Sweden, she lost her liberty by the revolution.
Public; derived from office or connection with government; as political character.
Artful; skillful. [See Politic.]
Treating of politics or government; as a political writer.
Political arithmetic, the art of reasoning by figures, or of making arithmetical calculations on matters relating to a nation, its revenues, value of lands and effects, produce of lands or manufactures, population, &c.
Political economy, the administration of the revenues of a nation; or the management and regulation of its resources and productive property and labor. Political economy comprehends all the measures by which the property and labor of citizens are directed in the best manner to the success of individual industry and enterprise, and to the public prosperity. Political economy is now considered as a science.

Definition 2021




Alternative forms


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, George A. Birmingham, chapter I”, in Gossamer (Project Gutenberg; EBook #24394), London: Methuen & Co., published 8 January 2013 (Project Gutenberg version), OCLC 558189256:
      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:
      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. (pejorative) Motivated, especially inappropriately, by political (electoral or other party political) calculation.
  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



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.


Most common English words before 1923: etc. · broke · waiting · #773: political · reading · German · seven