Meaning of realpolitik in English:


Pronunciation /reɪˈɑːlpɒlɪˌtiːk/


mass noun
  • A system of politics or principles based on practical rather than moral or ideological considerations.

    ‘commercial realpolitik had won the day’
    • ‘Power politics and realpolitik emphasized by realists is seen as being derived from shared knowledge which is self-fulfilling.’
    • ‘They are terrified of Leninist politics, which is nothing more for them than realpolitik practised by Marxist intellectuals.’
    • ‘As they see it, we improperly allow realpolitik considerations to trump the human rights imperatives.’
    • ‘The promotion of democracy and human rights serves American interests in ways that realpolitik can never accomplish alone.’
    • ‘Cooper's mistake was to pose these policies in the old-fashioned language of realpolitik and power, rather than relying on the moral rhetoric of the day.’
    • ‘Vedrine makes clear he is a subtle practitioner of realpolitik in the tradition of Richelieu, Talleyrand, and de Gaulle.’
    • ‘The first, we would say, is based on realpolitik, the second on principle.’
    • ‘After all, those in power on the American side of the Atlantic are also practitioners of realpolitik.’
    • ‘Thank you for your reply to my letter, which confirms your reliance on legalism-moralism rather than realpolitik to determine international policy.’
    • ‘The problem, of course, is with hypocrisy - realpolitik and dressing it up in moral language.’
    • ‘At the turn of the decade many progressives were ready to believe in a new ethical, rather than realpolitik, motivation in foreign policy.’
    • ‘But the vision called up by realpolitik, or realistic politics, is beyond example crazy and incredible.’
    • ‘From the beginning, U.S. policy in South Vietnam was a conflict between realpolitik and democratic ideals.’
    • ‘For all its underpinnings in realpolitik, the strategy committed the United States to multilateralism.’
    • ‘We can hardly take pride in a successful war against Germany motivated less by principle than realpolitik.’
    • ‘In this world, power politics and classical realpolitik have become obsolete.’
    • ‘Surely realpolitik dictates that this Government must use its final Budget to please the voting classes.’
    • ‘That's a perfectly reasonable, realpolitik consideration for a government.’
    • ‘National realpolitik is becoming unreal, not only in Europe, but throughout the world.’
    • ‘Are we to jump to the conclusion, therefore, that they have abandoned the left in the name of pragmatism and realpolitik?’
    power struggle, manipulation, machination, machinations, manoeuvring, jockeying for position, wheeler-dealing, machiavellianism, opportunism, realpolitik


Late 19th century from German Realpolitik ‘practical politics’.