1590s, "being," from Late Latin entitatem (nominative entitas), from ens (genitive entis) "a thing," proposed by Caesar as present participle of esse "be" (see is), to render Greek philosophical term to on "that which is" (from neuter of present participle of einai "to be," from PIE root *es- "to be"). Originally abstract; concrete sense in English is from 1620s.
1550s, "of or pertaining to a polity, civil affairs, or government;" from Latin politicus "of citizens or the state" (see politic (adj.)) + -al (1). Meaning "taking sides in party politics" (usually pejorative) is from 1749. Political prisoner first recorded 1860; political science is from 1779 (first attested in Hume). Political animal translates Greek politikon zōon (Aristotle, "Politics," I.ii.9) "an animal intended to live in a city; a social animal":
From these things therefore it is clear that the city-state is a natural growth, and that man is by nature a political animal, and a man that is by nature and not merely by fortune citiless is either low in the scale of humanity or above it ... inasmuch as he is solitary, like an isolated piece at draughts. [Rackham transl.]
early 15c., politike, "pertaining to public affairs, concerning the governance of a country or people," from Old 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).
It has been replaced in most of the earliest senses by political. From mid-15c. as "prudent, judicious," originally of rulers: "characterized by policy." Body politic "a political entity, a country" (with French word order) is from late 15c.
The sense of "a semi-independent political entity under a federal authority, one of the bodies politic which together make up a federal republic" is from 1774. The British North American colonies occasionally were called states as far back as 1630s; the States has been short for "the United States of America" since 1777; also of the Netherlands. State rights in U.S. political sense is attested from 1798; form states rights is first recorded 1858. Church and state have been contrasted from 1580s. State-socialism attested from 1850.