[ pol-i-tish-uhn ]
/ ˌpɒl ɪˈtɪʃ ən /
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See synonyms for: politician / politicians on Thesaurus.com

a person who is active in party politics.
a seeker or holder of public office, who is more concerned about winning favor or retaining power than about maintaining principles.
a person who holds a political office.
a person skilled in political government or administration; statesman or stateswoman.
an expert in politics or political government.
a person who seeks to gain power or advancement within an organization in ways that are generally disapproved.
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Origin of politician

From the French word politicien, dating back to 1580–90. See politic, -ian

synonym study for politician

4. Politician, statesman refer to one skilled in politics. These terms differ particularly in their connotations; politician is more often derogatory, and statesman laudatory. Politician suggests the schemes and devices of a person who engages in (especially small) politics for party ends or for one's own advantage: a dishonest politician. Statesman suggests the eminent ability, foresight, and unselfish patriotic devotion of a person dealing with (especially important or great) affairs of state: a distinguished statesman.


non·pol·i·ti·cian, nounself-pol·i·ti·cian, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does politician mean?

A politician is a person who holds or is seeking political office as an elected government official.

The word is most commonly used in the context of politicians campaigning, giving speeches, and promoting themselves, as opposed to the activities that they do as part of being a government official—voting, debating issues, and working to find solutions to problems (in which case a politician might be called a representative or officeholder—or a legislator or lawmaker, if they work in a lawmaking capacity).

The word politician is often used in a negative way. That’s because being a politician is often associated with attempting to be likeable to the largest possible group of people (voters) in order to get elected and gain influence—and perhaps doing so for one’s own benefit, instead of the public.

Politicians are often affiliated with political parties and associated with party politics, which involve the strict adherence to the policies and principles of a political party, regardless of the public interest, often resulting in partisanship.

The word politician is also commonly used in a figurative way to refer to a person who’s particularly skilled at navigating the politics—the activities involving gaining and maintaining power and influence—of a certain situation, such as the workplace. Calling someone a politician in this way usually implies that they are good at building support, especially with the goal of helping them to further some agenda or boost or maintain their power in that setting. However, it also usually implies that such a person is at least somewhat dishonest or fake (like many real politicians are often accused of being). The word is often applied in this way to someone who tells people what they want to hear in order to gain power or influence.

When someone says that an elected official is “not a politician” (even though they obviously are in the literal sense), they usually mean that that person is exactly as they seem—they’re not presenting an artificial public persona.

Example: We need to demand more substance from our politicians, who should be focusing on the real issues instead of scoring political points with their supporters.

Where does politician come from?

The first records of the word politician come from the late 1500s. It ultimately derives from the Greek polītikós, which means “civil” and is related to the Greek polī́t(ēs), “citizen.” The suffix ian is used in words that refer to a person who works in a specific field, such as historian and electrician.

Being a politician involves getting elected, and getting elected requires convincing a lot of people to vote for you. This means that politicians often try to avoid doing or saying things that will alienate any large group of people who are likely to vote for them. For that reason, politicians are known for avoiding strong stances on issues in order to continue trying to earn the support of as many people as possible.

The term career politician refers to a representative who has spent a long time as an elected official and usually implies that they haven’t accomplished much other than continuing to get elected.

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What are some synonyms for politician?

What are some words that share a root or word element with politician

What are some words that often get used in discussing politician?

How is politician used in real life?

The literal sense of politician can be used neutrally or in a negative way. The figurative sense of politician is often used negatively.



Try using politician!

Which of the following words can be used as a synonym of politician?

A. lawmaker
B. officeholder
C. representative
D. all of the above

How to use politician in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for politician

/ (ˌpɒlɪˈtɪʃən) /

a person actively engaged in politics, esp a full-time professional member of a deliberative assembly
a person who is experienced or skilled in the art or science of politics, government, or administration; statesman
derogatory, mainly US a person who engages in politics out of a wish for personal gain, as realized by holding a public office
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