Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Alternative forms[edit]


Machiavellian +‎ -ism


Machiavellianism (countable and uncountable, plural Machiavellianisms)

  1. (philosophy, politics) A political philosophy, based on the writings of Machiavelli, especially The Prince, that advocates the use of ruthlessness and duplicity in political dealings.
    Synonyms: realpolitik, Machiavellism
    • 2001, Tim Spiekerman, Shakespeare's Political Realism: The English History Plays, SUNY Press (→ISBN), page 54:
      Let us turn, finally, to the war itself, and ask ourselves if it can be understood as the victory of decency over Machiavellianism.
  2. (countable) A political maneuver that exemplifies the philosophy.
  3. (personality psychology) A psychological trait centered on interpersonal manipulation, unemotional coldness, and indifference to morality.
    • 2011, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Sophie von Stumm, Adrian Furnham, The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Individual Differences, John Wiley & Sons (→ISBN)
      Machiavellianism refers to interpersonal strategies that advocate self-interest, deception, and manipulation, so it would seem inherently related to core psychopathy and narcissism.
  4. (by extension) Any ruthless, duplicitous behavior.


Further reading[edit]