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A Word A Day — impolitic

Good evening, Netizens...

December 20, 2012

Word of the Day

  • impolitic
  • audio pronunciation
  • \im-PAH-luh-tik\


: not politic : unwise

The talk show host's impolitic remarks were often the target of public outrage, but they also earned him legions of fans.

"She'll say what's on her mind, no matter how wildly inappropriate or impolitic." — From a movie review by Steven Rea in The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 18, 2012


"Impolitic" appeared 400 years ago as an antonym of "politic," a word that basically means "shrewd," "sagacious," or "tactful." "Politic" came to us via Middle French from Latin "politicus." The Latin word, in turn, came from a Greek word based on "politēs," meaning "citizen." "Impolitic" has often been used to refer to action or policy on the part of public figures that is politically unwise—from British statesman Edmund Burke's judicious "the most ... impolitick of all things, unequal taxation" (1797) to People journalist James Kunen's ironic "The author of these impolitic remarks has risen to the very pinnacle of politics" (1988).

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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.