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



  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈpɒləsi/, /ˈpɒlɪsi/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈpɑləsi/
  • (file)

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle French policie, from Late Latin politia (citizenship; government), classical Latin polītīa (in Cicero), from Ancient Greek πολιτεία (politeía, citizenship; polis, (city) state; government), from πολίτης (polítēs, citizen). Compare police and polity.


policy (countable and uncountable, plural policies)

  1. A principle of behaviour, conduct etc. thought to be desirable or necessary, especially as formally expressed by a government or other authoritative body. [from 15th c.]
    The Communist Party has a policy of returning power to the workers.
    It's company policy that all mobile phones are forbidden in meetings.
  2. Wise or advantageous conduct; prudence, formerly also with connotations of craftiness. [from 15th c.]
    • 1639, Thomas Fuller, “King Richard Taken Prisoner in Austria; Sold and Sent to the Emperour; Dearly Ransomed, Returneth Home”, in The Historie of the Holy Warre, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: [] Thomas Buck, one of the printers to the Universitie of Cambridge [and sold by John Williams, London], OCLC 913016526, book III, page 130:
      [H]e [Richard I of England] was diſcovered in an inne in Auſtria, becauſe he diſguiſed his perſon not his expenſes; ſo that the very policie of an hoſteſſe, finding his purſe ſo farre above his clothes, did detect him: []
    • 1813 January 27, [Jane Austen], chapter XI, in Pride and Prejudice, volume II, London: [] [George Sidney] for T[homas] Egerton [], OCLC 38659585, page 131:
      These bitter accusations might have been suppressed, had I with greater policy concealed my struggles, and flattered you into the belief of my being impelled by unqualified, unalloyed inclination; []
  3. (now rare) Specifically, political shrewdness or (formerly) cunning; statecraft. [from 15th c.]
  4. (Scotland, now chiefly in the plural) The grounds of a large country house. [from 18th c.]
  5. (obsolete) The art of governance; political science. [14th–18th c.]
  6. (obsolete) A state; a polity. [14th–16th c.]
  7. (obsolete) A set political system; civil administration. [15th–19th c.]
  8. (obsolete) A trick; a stratagem. [15th–19th c.]
  9. (obsolete) Motive; object; inducement.
Derived terms[edit]
  • Burmese: ပေါ်လစီ (paula.ci)


policy (third-person singular simple present policies, present participle policying, simple past and past participle policied)

  1. (transitive) To regulate by laws; to reduce to order.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle French police, from Italian polizza, from Medieval Latin apodissa (receipt for money), from Ancient Greek ἀπόδειξις (apódeixis, proof, declaration).


policy (plural policies)

  1. (law)
    1. A contract of insurance.
    2. A document containing or certifying this contract.
      Your insurance policy covers fire and theft only.
  2. (obsolete) An illegal daily lottery in late nineteenth and early twentieth century USA on numbers drawn from a lottery wheel (no plural)
  3. A number pool lottery
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Further reading[edit]