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[pol-i-tik] /ˈpɒl ɪ tɪk/
shrewd or prudent in practical matters; tactful; diplomatic.
contrived in a shrewd and practical way; expedient:
a politic reply.
the body politic.
Origin of politic
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English politik < Middle French politique < Latin polīticus < Greek polītikós civic, equivalent to polī́t(ēs) citizen (see polity) + -ikos -ic
Related forms
politicly, adverb
overpolitic, adjective
prepolitic, adjective
pseudopolitic, adjective
quasi-politic, adjective
Can be confused
politic, political.
politically, politicly.
1. astute, ingenius; wary, discreet. See diplomatic.
1. imprudent; indiscreet, tactless. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for politic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The friendship of the agent was only politic for the time being.

  • And he was politic—or politician—enough to avoid the subject thenceforward.

    In a Little Town Rupert Hughes
  • The politic South felt that its first move had been too bold, and thenceforward worked underground.

  • This will be a politic move for the Soviets as well as England.

    Erik Dorn Ben Hecht
  • She, too, had a political end to gain, and was too politic to give way to anger and reproaches.

  • We have no Esther now to share their thrones, no politic Mordecai, no purple-vested Daniel.

    Alroy Benjamin Disraeli
  • She had purposely been left in ignorance, and a politic man would hesitate long before daring to enlighten her.

    Conjuror's House Stewart Edward White
British Dictionary definitions for politic


artful or shrewd; ingenious: a politic manager
crafty or unscrupulous; cunning: a politic old scoundrel
sagacious, wise, or prudent, esp in statesmanship: a politic choice
an archaic word for political
Derived Forms
politicly, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Old French politique, from Latin polīticus concerning civil administration, from Greek politikos, from politēs citizen, from polis city
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for politic

early 15c., "pertaining to public affairs," from Middle French politique "political" (14c.) and directly from Latin politicus "of citizens or the state, civil, civic," from Greek politikos "of citizens, pertaining to the state and its administration; pertaining to public life," from polites "citizen," from polis "city" (see polis). Replaced in most adjectival senses by political. From mid-15c. as "prudent, judicious."


also politick, "to engage in political activity," 1917, a back-formation from politics. Related: Politicked; politicking (for the -k- see picnic).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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