Politics (n.)

Politics (n.)

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The process by which communities decide who will give the orders, who will follow them, and what happens when they are disobeyed.

History & Etymology

“Affairs of the cities,” That was the meaning of the title of Aristotle's Politics or Politiká. As usual with words relating to politics, government and the ruling class this word came in to English through Norman French after the Norman conquest of Britain in 1066. And it entered English primarily as an adjective in the same way we would use the word political. It wasn’t until 1429 that it was first used in something close to the modern sense. Then it referred specifically to the state or government, and most of the time that’s still what the word is referring to.

But I was thinking of how the word politics and its derivatives are being used and I think the definition has expanded. Phrases like “Office Politics” and “Political correctness” neither of which refer directly to the government anymore, but both point towards who we’re supposed to look to as an authority. Many times I hear the word politics used to describe these things without any kind of modifier.








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