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See also: politý



From Middle French politie, from Latin polītīa, 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 17th-century Britain.
    • 1979, Jerome Ch’en, China and the West: Society and Culture, 1815–1937, page 270:
      Once exposed, Confucianism was to become a political issue, an alternative among other contending ideologies which threatened to change the polity of the empire.
    • 1994, John L. Brooke, The Refiner’s Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644–1844, →ISBN, page 42:
      The utopian community at Ephrata flourished for forty years, and the last celibates at Ephrata died after the turn of the century. It had continuing influences reaching far into the nineteenth century, and in some measure anticipated Mormon polity and cosmology.
    • 2011, Jason A. Carbine, Sons of the Buddha: Continuities and Ruptures in a Burmese Monastic Tradition, →ISBN, page 9, note 26:
      Of course, other visions of Buddhist polity and its relationship to monastic life have occurred throughout the Buddhist world. For example in the seventeenth century Tibetan Buddhists successfully established a theocracy under the guidance of monks []
  2. (political science, countable) A politically organized unit, especially a state.
    New polities emerged in Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire.

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  1. inflection of polít:
    1. inanimate masculine plural passive participle
    2. feminine plural passive participle