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You are here: Home / Platform / Definitions

Word Definitions

by cpadmin last modified Oct 08, 2012 06:33 PM
Words are often misused as weapons in politics. It is important to understand what the words actually mean in order to understand how they are being misused in debate. In this sense, the dictionary is as also a part of the foundation of the platform. Communication needs a point of reference. This list will grow of course.

All definitions from:

The lexicon of the mind/body politic: You might be surprised by the actual definitions of words. The way these words are used is often very far from the actual definition. This is done by many techniques such as political spin or simply misunderstanding.

In some cases you will notice an entire line in bold text. That is to point out a particularly relevant definition in a list of definitions.


  • Main Entry: cap·i·tal·ism
  • Pronunciation: \ˈka-pə-tə-ˌliz-əm, ˈkap-tə-, British also kə-ˈpi-tə-\
  • Function: noun
  • Date: 1877

: an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market


  • Main Entry: com·mu·nism
  • Pronunciation: \ˈkäm-yə-ˌni-zəm, -yü-\
  • Function: noun
  • Etymology: French communisme, from commun common
  • Date: 1840

1 a : a theory advocating elimination of private property b : a system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed
2 capitalized a : a doctrine based on revolutionary Marxian socialism and Marxism-Leninism that was the official ideology of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics b : a totalitarian system of government in which a single authoritarian party controls state-owned means of production c : a final stage of society in Marxist theory in which the state has withered away and economic goods are distributed equitably d : communist systems collectively


  • Main Entry: com·mu·ni·ty
  • Pronunciation: \kə-ˈmyü-nə-tē\
  • Function: noun
  • Inflected Form(s): plural com·mu·ni·ties
  • Usage: often attributive
  • Etymology: Middle English comunete, from Anglo-French communité, from Latin communitat-, communitas, from communis
  • Date: 14th century

1 : a unified body of individuals: as a : state, commonwealth b : the people with common interests living in a particular area; broadly : the area itself <the problems of a large community> c : an interacting population of various kinds of individuals (as species) in a common location d : a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society <a community of retired persons> e : a group linked by a common policy f : a body of persons or nations having a common history or common social, economic, and political interests <the international community> g : a body of persons of common and especially professional interests scattered through a larger society <the academic community>
2 : society at large
3 a : joint ownership or participation <community of goods> b : common character : likeness <community of interests> c : social activity : fellowship d : a social state or condition


  • Main Entry: con·sid·er·ation
  • Pronunciation: \kən-ˌsi-də-ˈrā-shən\
  • Function: noun
  • Date: 14th century
1 : continuous and careful thought <after long consideration he agreed to their requests>
2 a : a matter weighed or taken into account when formulating an opinion or plan <economic considerations forced her to leave college> b : a taking into account
3 : thoughtful and sympathetic regard
4 : an opinion obtained by reflection


  • Main Entry: con·sti·tu·tion·al·ism
  • Pronunciation: \-sh(ə-)nə-ˌli-zəm\
  • Function: noun
  • Date: 1832

: adherence to or government according to constitutional principles; also : a constitutional system of government

con·sti·tu·tion·al·ist \-list\ noun


  • Main Entry: de·moc·ra·cy
  • Pronunciation: \di-ˈmä-krə-sē\
  • Function: noun
  • Inflected Form(s): plural de·moc·ra·cies
  • Etymology: Middle French democratie, from Late Latin democratia, from Greek dēmokratia, from dēmos + -kratia -cracy
  • Date: 1576

1 a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority b : a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections
2 : a political unit that has a democratic government
3 capitalized : the principles and policies of the Democratic party in the United States <from emancipation Republicanism to New Deal Democracy — C. M. Roberts>
4 : the common people especially when constituting the source of political authority
5 : the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges


  • Main Entry: dem·o·crat·ic
  • Pronunciation: \ˌde-mə-ˈkra-tik\
  • Function: adjective
  • Date: 1602

1 : of, relating to, or favoring democracy
2 often capitalized : of or relating to one of the two major political parties in the United States evolving in the early 19th century from the anti-federalists and the Democratic-Republican party and associated in modern times with policies of broad social reform and internationalism
3 : relating to, appealing to, or available to the broad masses of the people <democratic art>
4 : favoring social equality : not snobbish


  • Main Entry: fas·cism
  • Pronunciation: \ˈfa-ˌshi-zəm also ˈfa-ˌsi-\
  • Function: noun
  • Etymology: Italian fascismo, from fascio bundle, fasces, group, from Latin fascis bundle & fasces fasces
  • Date: 1921

1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control <early instances of army fascism and brutality — J. W. Aldridge>


  • Main Entry: lib·er·tar·i·an
  • Pronunciation: \ˌli-bər-ˈter-ē-ən, -ˈte-rē-\
  • Function: noun
  • Date: 1789

1 : an advocate of the doctrine of free will
2 a : a person who upholds the principles of individual liberty especially of thought and action b capitalized : a member of a political party advocating libertarian principles

libertarian adjective

lib·er·tar·i·an·ism \-ē-ə-ˌni-zəm\ noun


  • Main Entry: ol·i·gar·chy
  • Pronunciation: \ˈä-lə-ˌgär-kē, ˈō-\
  • Function: noun
  • Inflected Form(s): plural ol·i·gar·chies
  • Date: 1542

1 : government by the few
2 : a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes; also : a group exercising such control
3 : an organization under oligarchic control


  • Main Entry: plu·toc·ra·cy
  • Pronunciation: \plü-ˈtä-krə-sē\
  • Function: noun
  • Inflected Form(s): plural plu·toc·ra·cies
  • Etymology: Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; akin to Greek plein to sail, float — more at flow
  • Date: 1652

1 : government by the wealthy
2 : a controlling class of the wealthy


  • Main Entry: pol·i·tic
  • Pronunciation: \ˈpä-lə-ˌtik\
  • Function: adjective
  • Etymology: Middle English politik, from Middle French politique, from Latin politicus, from Greek politikos, from politēs citizen — more at police
  • Date: 15th century

1 : political
2 : characterized by shrewdness in managing, contriving, or dealing
3 : sagacious in promoting a policy
4 : shrewdly tactful


  • Main Entry: po·lit·i·cal
  • Pronunciation: \pə-ˈli-ti-kəl\
  • Function: adjective
  • Etymology: Latin politicus
  • Date: 1551

1 a : of or relating to government, a government, or the conduct of government b : of, relating to, or concerned with the making as distinguished from the administration of governmental policy
2 : of, relating to, involving, or involved in politics and especially party politics
3 : organized in governmental terms <political units>
4 : involving or charged or concerned with acts against a government or a political system <political prisoners>


  • Main Entry: prin·ci·ple
  • Pronunciation: \ˈprin(t)-s(ə-)pəl, -sə-bəl\
  • Function: noun
  • Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French principe, principle, from Old French, from Latin principium beginning, from princip-, princeps initiator — more at prince
  • Date: 14th century
1 a : a comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine, or assumption b (1) : a rule or code of conduct (2) : habitual devotion to right principles <a man of principle> c : the laws or facts of nature underlying the working of an artificial device
2 : a primary source : origin
3 a : an underlying faculty or endowment <such principles of human nature as greed and curiosity>


  • Main Entry: re·pub·lic
  • Pronunciation: \ri-ˈpə-blik\
  • Function: noun
  • Etymology: French république, from Middle French republique, from Latin respublica, from res thing, wealth + publica, feminine of publicus public — more at real, public
  • Date: 1604

1 a (1) : a government having a chief of state who is not a monarch and who in modern times is usually a president (2) : a political unit (as a nation) having such a form of government b (1) : a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law (2) : a political unit (as a nation) having such a form of government c : a usually specified republican government of a political unit <the French Fourth Republic>
2 : a body of persons freely engaged in a specified activity <the republic of letters>
3 : a constituent political and territorial unit of the former nations of Czechoslovakia, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or Yugoslavia


  • Main Entry: 1re·pub·li·can
  • Pronunciation: \ri-ˈpə-bli-kən\
  • Function: noun
  • Date: 1699

1 : one that favors or supports a republican form of government
2 capitalized a : a member of a political party advocating republicanism b : a member of the Democratic-Republican party or of the Republican party of the United States


  • Main Entry: so·cial·ism
  • Pronunciation: \ˈsō-shə-ˌli-zəm\
  • Function: noun
  • Date: 1837

1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2 a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done


  • Main Entry: 1spin
  • Pronunciation: \ˈspin\
  • Function: verb
  • Inflected Form(s): spun \ˈspən\; spin·ning
  • Etymology: Middle English spinnen, from Old English spinnan; akin to Old High German spinnan to spin and perhaps to Lithuanian spęsti to set (a trap)
  • Date: before 12th century

intransitive verb

: to draw out and twist fiber into yarn or thread
2 : to form a thread by extruding a viscous rapidly hardening fluid —used especially of a spider or insect
3 a : to revolve rapidly : gyrate b : to feel as if in a whirl : reel <my head is spinning>
4 : to move swiftly especially on or as if on wheels or in a vehicle
5 : to fish with spinning bait : troll
6 a of an airplane : to fall in a spin b : to plunge helplessly and out of control
7 : to engage in spin control (as in politics)

transitive verb

1 a : to draw out and twist into yarns or threads b : to produce by drawing out and twisting a fibrous material
2 : to form (as a web or cocoon) by spinning
3 a : to stretch out or extend (as a story) lengthily : protract —usually used with out b : to evolve, express, or fabricate by processes of mind or imagination <spin a yarn>
4 : to cause to whirl : impart spin to <spin a top>
5 : to shape into threadlike form in manufacture; also : to manufacture by a whirling process
6 : to set (records or compact discs) rotating on a player : play <spin some discs>
7 : to present (as information) with a particular spin <spin the statistics>

spin one's wheels : to make futile efforts to achieve progress


  • Main Entry: vir·tue
  • Pronunciation: \ˈvər-(ˌ)chü\
  • Function: noun
  • Etymology: Middle English vertu, virtu, from Anglo-French, from Latin virtut-, virtus strength, manliness, virtue, from vir man — more at virile
  • Date: 13th century
1 a : conformity to a standard of right : morality b : a particular moral excellence
2 plural : an order of angels — see celestial hierarchy
3 : a beneficial quality or power of a thing
4 : manly strength or courage : valor
5 : a commendable quality or trait : merit
6 : a capacity to act : potency



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