Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The form of government of a nation, state, church, or organization.
  • n. An organized society, such as a nation, having a specific form of government: "His alien philosophy found no roots in the American polity” ( New York Times).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An organizational structure of the government of a state, church, etc.
  • n. A politically organized unit; a state.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The form or constitution of the civil government of a nation or state; the framework or organization by which the various departments of government are combined into a systematic whole.
  • n. Hence: The form or constitution by which any institution is organized; the recognized principles which lie at the foundation of any human institution.
  • n. Policy; art; management.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Government; form, system, or method of government: as, civil polity; ecclesiastical polity.
  • n. Any body of persons forming a community governed according to a recognized system of government.
  • n. Policy; art; management; scheme.
  • n. Synonyms See policy.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. shrewd or crafty management of public affairs
  • n. the form of government of a social organization
  • n. a politically organized unit

Etymologies

Obsolete French politie, from Old French, from Late Latin polītīa, the Roman government; see police.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French politie, from Latin politia, from Ancient Greek πολιτεία (politeia, "polity, policy, the state"); see policy. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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