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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.
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. 2014.
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Examples from the web for politicians
  • The world is weary of statesmen whom democracy has degraded into politicians.
  • The world is wearied of statesmen whom democracy has degraded into politicians.
  • Diplomats make it their business to conceal the facts, and politicians violently denounce the politicians of other countries.
  • It is the kind of principle to which politicians delight to pay unctuous homage in words.
  • Within a year, the artists were presenting the idea to politicians, arts groups and neighborhood community boards.
  • They might almost be partisan politicians, if they stuck to only two interpretations of the evidence.
  • It has energized research into global health, made that work a credible career choice and attracted politicians to the cause.
  • politicians compelled him to add supporting columns and tie rods, marring the pure lines of his original plan.
  • Goldwater had a kind of vision so lacking in politicians today.
  • Watching the speech today shows how sophisticated politicians have become at defining an image.
British Dictionary definitions for politicians


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 politicians



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 politicians



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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