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[pol-i-tish-uh n] /ˌpɒl ɪˈtɪʃ ən/
a person who is active in party politics.
a seeker or holder of public office, who is more concerned about winning favor or retaining power than about maintaining principles.
a person who holds a political office.
a person skilled in political government or administration; statesman or stateswoman.
an expert in politics or political government.
a person who seeks to gain power or advancement within an organization in ways that are generally disapproved.
Origin of politician
1580-90; < French politicien. See politic, -ian
Related forms
nonpolitician, noun
self-politician, noun
4. Politician, statesman refer to one skilled in politics. These terms differ particularly in their connotations; politician is more often derogatory, and statesman laudatory. Politician suggests the schemes and devices of a person who engages in (especially small) politics for party ends or for one's own advantage: a dishonest politician. Statesman suggests the eminent ability, foresight, and unselfish patriotic devotion of a person dealing with (especially important or great) affairs of state: a distinguished statesman. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for politician
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Rhodes was an extremely able politician, and a far-seeing one into the bargain.

    Cecil Rhodes Princess Catherine Radziwill
  • The word is not in the vocabulary of the American politician.

    Still Jim Honor Willsie Morrow
  • Napoleon, when he had seen the letter, began a negotiation of some sort with this politician.

    The Day of the Confederacy Nathaniel W. Stephenson
  • He wrote from the view-point of the politician,—not of the moralist.

  • He may be a financier, and cheat somebody; or a politician, and slander somebody; or a learned man, and hinder wisdom.

British Dictionary definitions for politician


a person actively engaged in politics, esp a full-time professional member of a deliberative assembly
a person who is experienced or skilled in the art or science of politics, government, or administration; statesman
(derogatory, mainly US) a person who engages in politics out of a wish for personal gain, as realized by holding a public office
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 politician

1580s, "person skilled in politics," from politics + -ian. It quickly took on overtones, not typically good ones. Johnson defines it as "A man of artifice; one of deep contrivance."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for politician



A person who succeeds through charm, diplomacy, mutual favors, etc •The term is mildly derogatory in suggesting a lack of true substance: If you called him an asshole to his face you're no politician (1592+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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