[ puh-lit-i-koh ]
/ pəˈlɪt ɪˌkoʊ /
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noun, plural po·lit·i·cos.
a politician.
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Origin of politico

1620–30; <Italian or Spanish

Other definitions for politico (2 of 2)


a combining form representing political in compound words: politico-religious.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does politico mean?

Politico is an informal word for a politician—a person who holds or is seeking political office as an elected government official.

Like the word politician, politico 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).

Politico is especially used to refer to a long-term politician who’s experienced in making political deals or exchanging political favors.

For that reason, it’s often used in a negative way, such as to refer to politicians who are considered members of the establishment.

The informal term pol can be used to mean the same thing.

Example: We should be focusing on real issues instead of listening to endless rhetoric from politicos and pundits.

Where does politico come from?

Politico might sound like a modern slang term, but the first records of its use in English come from around 1630. It’s thought to have been borrowed from Spanish or Italian, but it has the same roots as its synonym, politician. It ultimately derives from the Greek polītikós, which means “civil” and is related to the Greek polī́t(ēs), “citizen.”

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. The word politico can be used to mean the same thing. It’s especially used to refer to politicians who are considered insiders in the political world.

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What are some other forms related to politico?

  • politicos (plural)

What are some synonyms for politico?

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

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

How is politico used in real life?

Politico is usually used informally. It’s often used negatively to criticize career politicians.


Try using politico!

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

A. pol
B. politician
C. officeholder
D. all of the above

How to use politico in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for politico (1 of 2)

/ (pəˈlɪtɪˌkəʊ) /

noun plural -cos

Word Origin for politico

C17: from Italian or Spanish

British Dictionary definitions for politico (2 of 2)


combining form
denoting political or politicspoliticoeconomic
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