- 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
Examples from the Web for machiavellian
The senator, a college gridiron star, has a coldly Machiavellian widow.Better Than Fiction: The Rise, Fall, And Return of Webb Hubbell
May 1, 2014
El Comandante used his Machiavellian bag of tricks to fuel a spoils system and political juggernaut that Venezuelans worshiped.Hugo Chávez’s House of Cards
March 7, 2013
She is popular within the Democratic caucus, and there is no apparent Machiavellian maneuvering to unseat her.Nancy Pelosi’s Tireless Obamacare Push Vindicated by Supreme Court Ruling
July 4, 2012
“George is not a Machiavellian self-interested monster,” Ashton said calmly on the last day of rebuttal.In the Jury's Hands
July 4, 2011
From Tribal Council to taxes to Trump, trouble seems to follow the Machiavellian reality-TV competitor.Richard Hatch Can't Win
May 19, 2011
The doctor's mind pursued its own schemes with Machiavellian subtlety.Nostromo: A Tale of the Seaboard
Yet this was but a shallow artifice, unworthy of my Machiavellian aunt.The Comedies of William Congreve
The operations of war were directed by the same Machiavellian maxims.The Life of George Washington, Vol. 5 (of 5)
Quite Stendhalian this, Machiavellian, and also time-serving.Egoists
But this Machiavellian prince was the genuine son of St Louis.
- of or relating to the alleged political principles of Machiavelli; cunning, amoral, and opportunist
- a cunning, amoral, and opportunist person, esp a politician
Word Origin and History for machiavellian
"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).