• synonyms


or Re·al·po·li·tik

[rey-ahl-poh-li-teek, ree-]
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  1. political realism or practical politics, especially policy based on power rather than on ideals.
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Origin of realpolitik

1910–15; < German, equivalent to real real1 + Politik politics, policy; see politic
Related formsre·al·po·li·tik·er [rey-ahl-poh-lee-ti-ker, ree-] /reɪˈɑl poʊˌli tɪ kər, ri-/, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for realpolitik

civics, government, politics, governance, realpolitik, statesmanship

Examples from the Web for realpolitik

Contemporary Examples of realpolitik

Historical Examples of realpolitik

British Dictionary definitions for realpolitik


  1. a ruthlessly realistic and opportunist approach to statesmanship, rather than a moralistic one, esp as exemplified by Bismarck
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Word Origin for realpolitik

C19: German: politics of realism
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 realpolitik


1914, from German Realpolitik, which can be translated as "practical politics." See real (adj.) + politics.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

realpolitik in Culture



Governmental policies based on hard, practical considerations rather than on moral or idealistic concerns. Realpolitik is German for “the politics of reality” and is often applied to the policies of nations that consider only their own interests in dealing with other countries.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.