Words related to politics

politic (adj.)

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.

in the names of sciences or disciplines (acoustics, aerobics, economics, etc.), a 16c. revival of the classical custom of using the neuter plural of adjectives with Greek -ikos "pertaining to" (see -ic) to mean "matters relevant to" and also as the titles of treatises about them. Subject matters that acquired their English names before c. 1500, however, tend to be singular in form (arithmetic, logic, magic, music, rhetoric). The grammatical number of words in -ics (mathematics is/mathematics are) is a confused question.
metapolitics (n.)

1784, "abstract political science; purely speculative treatment of politics, unrelated to practical matters;" see meta- "transcending, overarching, dealing with the most fundamental matters of" + politics. Based on metaphysics. Related: Metapolitical, which is attested from 1670s in the sense of "outside the realm of politics."

politic (v.)

also politick, "to engage in political activity," 1917, a back-formation from politics. Related: Politicked; politicking (for the -k- see picnic (v.)).

politician (n.)

1580s, "person skilled in politics;" see politics + -ian. Especially "one engaged in party politics, especially as a trade; one who promotes the interests of a political party," and thus it quickly took on overtones, not typically good ones: "one concerned with public affairs for the sake of profit or of a clique." Johnson defines it as "A man of artifice; one of deep contrivance."

The notion of enlightened, disinterested, and high-minded service to the state goes with statesman (Century Dictionary notes that "A man, however, would not properly be called a statesman unless he were also of eminent ability in public affairs"). For "student of political science," by way of distinction, politicist (1869) has been used.

politicize (v.)

1758, intransitive, "take up or engage in politics," from politics + -ize. The transitive meaning "to render political" is from 1846 and is the main modern sense. Related: Politicized; politicizing. Earlier was politize (late 16c.), but this was rare. Politicalize (1869) also has been tried.

realpolitik (n.)

"politics driven by practical considerations" (rather than ideology or morals), 1914, from German Realpolitik (August Ludwig von Rochau, "Grundsätze der Realpolitik," 1853), which can be translated as "practical politics." See real (adj.) + politics.