Machiavellian (adj.)

"cunning, deceitful, habitually duplicitous, unscrupulous, destitute of political morality," 1570s, from Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527), Florentine statesman and author of "Il Principe," a work advising rulers to place advantage above morality. A word of abuse in English well before his works were translated ("The Discourses" in 1636, "The Prince" in 1640), in part because his books were Indexed by the Church, in part because of French attacks on him (such as Gentillet's, translated into English 1602). Related: Machiavellianism.

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