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the science or art of government.
the practice or profession of conducting affairs.
The advocated reforms have become embroiled in politics.
methods or maneuvers:
We could not approve of his politics in winning passage of the bill.
principles or opinions:
We avoided discussion of religion and politics. His politics are his own affair.
use of intrigue or strategy in obtaining any position of power or control, as in business, university, etc.
(initial capital letter, italics) a treatise (4th century b.c.) by Aristotle, dealing with the structure, organization, and administration of the state, especially the city-state as known in ancient Greece.
play politics,

to engage in political intrigue, take advantage of a political situation or issue, resort to partisan politics, etc.; exploit a political system or political relationships.
to deal with people in an opportunistic, manipulative, or devious way, as for job advancement.

Contemporary Examples

In this case, the bad decision-making will become the politics.
Politics or Bad Decision-Making? Brent E. Sasley November 13, 2012

politics is too expensive, and a new president has people to pay back.
The State Where the Right Won the Culture War Michael Tomasky October 9, 2014

But politics, however noisy, is less important than the ongoing structural realities that this report and its cousins describe.
Jobs Report Shows Unemployment Steady, but There’s Underlying Trouble Zachary Karabell March 8, 2012

We as coauthors disagree on the Palestinian U.N. bid, as on other important aspects of Middle Eastern politics.
The Conversation Israel and Palestine Needs to Have Peter Beinart, Alan M. Dershowitz December 2, 2012

This politics of schadenfreude focuses the populist ire of rank-and-file conservatives at the wrong targets.
Sarah Palin’s Media Mafia Conor Friedersdorf July 7, 2009

Historical Examples

Whoever will slander in politics, will slander in personal squabbles.
Twelve Causes of Dishonesty Henry Ward Beecher

“I thought you were making a reference to politics,” she said.
The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine

If he would return to his father’s politics, then would she too become a renegade.
The Duke’s Children Anthony Trollope

They say he might make a great figure in politics if he would.
Night and Morning, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Her forte is politics, and indeed she is no mean politician in her way.
A Fantasy of Far Japan Baron Kencho Suyematsu

(functioning as sing) 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
(functioning as sing) the complex or aggregate of relationships of people in society, esp those relationships involving authority or power
(functioning as pl) political activities or affairs: party politics
(functioning as sing) the business or profession of politics
(functioning as singular or pl) any activity concerned with the acquisition of power, gaining one’s own ends, etc: company politics are frequently vicious
(functioning as pl) opinions, principles, sympathies, etc, with respect to politics: his conservative politics
(functioning as pl)

the policy-formulating aspects of government as distinguished from the administrative, or legal
the civil functions of government as distinguished from the military


1520s, “science of government,” from politic (adj.), modeled on Aristotle’s ta politika “affairs of state,” the name of his book on governing and governments, which was in English mid-15c. as “Polettiques.” Also see -ics.

Politicks is the science of good sense, applied to public affairs, and, as those are forever changing, what is wisdom to-day would be folly and perhaps, ruin to-morrow. Politicks is not a science so properly as a business. It cannot have fixed principles, from which a wise man would never swerve, unless the inconstancy of men’s view of interest and the capriciousness of the tempers could be fixed. [Fisher Ames (1758-1808)]

Meaning “a person’s political allegiances or opinions” is from 1769.

see: play politics


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