Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


or Machiavelian

[mak-ee-uh-vel-ee-uh n] /ˌmæk i əˈvɛl i ən/
of, like, or befitting Machiavelli.
being or acting in accordance with the principles of government analyzed in Machiavelli's The Prince, in which political expediency is placed above morality and the use of craft and deceit to maintain the authority and carry out the policies of a ruler is described.
characterized by subtle or unscrupulous cunning, deception, expediency, or dishonesty:
He resorted to Machiavellian tactics in order to get ahead.
a follower of the principles analyzed or described in The Prince, especially with reference to techniques of political manipulation.
Origin of Machiavellian
First recorded in 1560-70; Machiavelli + -an
Related forms
Machiavellianism, Machiavellism, noun
Machiavellianly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for machiavellism
Historical Examples
  • It is a truism to say that machiavellism existed before Machiavelli.

    Machiavelli, Volume I

    Niccol Machiavelli
  • That machiavellism existed before Machiavelli has now become a truism.

    Renaissance in Italy, Volume 1 (of 7)

    John Addington Symonds
  • After a parricide, a fratricide was nothing to him, and he executed it with a machiavellism full of atrocious precautions.

    The Rebel Chief Gustave Aimard
British Dictionary definitions for machiavellism


adjective (sometimes not capital)
of or relating to the alleged political principles of Machiavelli; cunning, amoral, and opportunist
a cunning, amoral, and opportunist person, esp a politician
Derived Forms
Machiavellianism, Machiavellism, noun
Machiavellist, adjective, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for machiavellism



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for machiavellism

Word Value for machiavellism

Scrabble Words With Friends