[pol-i-tish-uh n]
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  1. a person who is active in party politics.
  2. a seeker or holder of public office, who is more concerned about winning favor or retaining power than about maintaining principles.
  3. a person who holds a political office.
  4. a person skilled in political government or administration; statesman or stateswoman.
  5. an expert in politics or political government.
  6. a person who seeks to gain power or advancement within an organization in ways that are generally disapproved.

Origin of politician

From the French word politicien, dating back to 1580–90. See politic, -ian
Related formsnon·pol·i·ti·cian, nounself-pol·i·ti·cian, noun

Synonyms for politician

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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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for politician

Contemporary Examples of politician

Historical Examples of politician

  • Mr. John Lambert was a millionnaire, a politician, and a widower.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • She was, besides being a gamester and a politician—what do you think?

  • The politician for whom the voter had voted got in by five hundred and fifty-five votes.

    Alarms and Discursions

    G. K. Chesterton

  • The politician solemnly pointed downwards with his forefinger.

  • His name was Fleming, and he claimed to be a New York politician.

British Dictionary definitions for politician


  1. a person actively engaged in politics, esp a full-time professional member of a deliberative assembly
  2. a person who is experienced or skilled in the art or science of politics, government, or administration; statesman
  3. 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

Word Origin and History for politician

1580s, "person skilled in politics," from politics + -ian. It quickly took on overtones, not typically good ones. Johnson defines it as "A man of artifice; one of deep contrivance."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper