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.
updated on August 11, 2020