Is there a adjectival form of "foreign policy" or "foreign relations"? It needs to fit in with:

There were contrasting political, social, and ??? systems.

EDIT: By "foreign policy", I really mean "military relations", not diplomatic.

  • Can you give us some more examples of what kinds of policy or doctrine must be characterized by this word? As a comment on Daniel's answer, you gave "isolationism", and "being composed of fighting city-states" (which really isn't a policy, whether foreign, military, or diplomatic, but a description of a nation), and you mentioned "diplomatic" doesn't really cover those. Do you have more examples?
    – Dan Bron
    Aug 24, 2014 at 13:25
  • 3
    What's wrong with just using foreign policy as a noun adjunct? Aug 24, 2014 at 13:33
  • @JanusBahsJacquet: That would be the answer with an explanation. For example, Finnish has a word for the adjective form: ulkopoliittinen. But in English, it is used as a noun adjunct.
    – ermanen
    Aug 24, 2014 at 15:42
  • @ermanen Many other Germanic languages have similar adjectives, too (udenrigspolitisk in Danish, utenrikspolitisk in Norwegian, etc.), and others don't (Icelandic has to form compounds with utanrikíkisstefnu-, for example). Aug 24, 2014 at 15:47
  • 1
    If you insert a hyphen into the compound noun 'foreign policy' thus: foreign-policy, it becomes a regularly-formed adjective. Hence your query sentence becomes "There were contrasting political, social and foreign-policy systems." (If you're actually including this in a piece you're writing, consider replacing 'systems' with 'structures'.)
    – Erik Kowal
    Aug 25, 2014 at 7:34

3 Answers 3


Diplomatic is the word you want here. Dictionary.com:

1. of, pertaining to, or engaged in diplomacy:
diplomatic officials.


1. the conduct by government officials of negotiations and other relations between nations.

2. the art or science of conducting such negotiations.

So your example sentence would be completed as follows:

There were contrasting political, social, and diplomatic systems.

  • "Diplomatic" makes it seem like it's just about diplomacy, but I meant to talk about military relations. (The first country is isolationist, and the second is composed of fighting city-states). Would diplomatic still be appropriate in this case? Aug 24, 2014 at 12:47
  • Yes, diplomacy refers to all international relations, including military. But there's a point I'm also not sure on: in your sentence, are you "contrasting" the two nations' systems? If so, you aren't referrinf to their relationship, you're considering them separately in order to compare them. In that case, if you mean military, I suggest you use military system. But maybe that's not the larger context.
    – Daniel
    Aug 24, 2014 at 17:43

Since you've clarified you're looking for a word which describes "military relations", perhaps "martial" would suit:

martial: relating to fighting or war.

  • 2
    And your projected relationships could take the form of a martial plan?
    – bib
    Aug 24, 2014 at 14:16
  • And if you joined another nation wage war as an ally, you've given "martial aid" (sorry, couldn't help myself).
    – Dan Bron
    Aug 24, 2014 at 14:18
  • Hey Dan - I voted this down too, to emphasise the insane voting seen on this site ! Whoo!
    – Fattie
    Aug 24, 2014 at 15:05
  • Have a party guys! Let the voice of the people be heard!
    – Dan Bron
    Aug 24, 2014 at 15:10
  • 1
    Please be aware, before this daft conversation goes any further, that foreign policy, military policy, and diplomacy are three quite different things.
    – WS2
    Aug 24, 2014 at 15:23


  1. relating to the identification of long-term or overall aims and interests and the means of achieving them. "strategic planning for the organization is the responsibility of top management" synonyms: planned, calculated, deliberate; More antonyms: random designed or planned to serve a particular purpose. "alarms are positioned at strategic points around the prison"
  2. relating to the gaining of overall or long-term military advantage. "Newark Castle was of strategic importance"

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