[ mak-ee-uh-vel-ee-uhn ]
/ ˌmæk i əˈvɛl i ən /
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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.
In effect, this quiz will prove whether or not you have the skills to know the difference between “affect” and “effect.”
Question 1 of 7
The rainy weather could not ________ my elated spirits on my graduation day.
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Sometimes Mach·i·a·vel·i·an .

Origin of Machiavellian

First recorded in 1560–70; Machiavelli + -an

OTHER WORDS FROM Machiavellian

Mach·i·a·vel·li·an·ism, Mach·i·a·vel·i·an·ism, nounMach·i·a·vel·li·an·ly, Mach·i·a·vel·i·an·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use Machiavellian in a sentence

  • 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
  • That Machiavellism existed before Machiavelli has now become a truism.

  • This boastful phrase might have been prompted by the most profound Machiavellism.

    A Set of Six|Joseph Conrad
  • It is a truism to say that Machiavellism existed before Machiavelli.

    Machiavelli, Volume I|Niccol Machiavelli

British Dictionary definitions for Machiavellian



/ (ˌmækɪəˈvɛlɪən) /

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 of Machiavellian

Machiavellianism or Machiavellism, nounMachiavellist, 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