Definition: Polity

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From Middle French politie, from Latin politia (circa 1530s C.E.), from Ancient Greek πολιτεία (politeía, “polity, policy, the state”). Doublet of policy and police.


polity (countable and uncountable, plural polities)

  1. (politics, religion, usually uncountable) organizational structure and governance, especially of a state or a religion.
    Church polity was a topic of fierce dispute in seventeenth-century Britain.
  2. (political science, countable) A politically organized unit, especially a state.
    New polities emerged in Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire.

Derived terms

  • divine polity

Related terms


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