I stumbled upon the word "impolitic". The original text deals with Chinese philosophy and would probably be more of a distraction than a help. I did my best to clarify the question through searches. Below is what I found:

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).Webster Dictionary

Although that seems like a wealth of information, it left me with too many interpretations. Some of these would include:

tactless, ill advised, unbecoming of a citizen.

May I use it in all of these senses? Are some of these common? I would be greatuful for examples.

The dictionary itself gave a quote that seemed to support "ill advised " . "Impolitic remarks",on the other hand, poits to tactless.

Indeed, Mr. Darcy, it is very ungenerous in you to mention all that you knew to my disadvantage in Hertfodshire---and, give me leave to say, very impolitic too--for it is provoking me to retaliate... Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 31


the examples have been extremely helpful. It seems the typical inpolitic move is politically ill advised and tactless. Would it be wrong to use the word for a political deed that was ill advised, but not tactless?

  • Something that is ill-advised or unwise will most likely be also tactless.
    – user66974
    Commented Jul 25, 2016 at 20:58
  • for some reason I always associated with a lack of political correctness
    – user180089
    Commented Jul 25, 2016 at 22:43

2 Answers 2


The term is a formal one and suggess the meaning of "unwise" both from a political and social behavioural perspective:

Impolitic: etymology

  • "not according to good policy," c. 1600, from assimilated form of in- (1) "not, opposite of" + politic (adj.) "judicious." Related: Impoliticly. Impolicy "quality of being impolitic" is attested from 1747. (Etymonline)

Impolitic: usage

  • If you've ever put your foot in your mouth, you've probably said something impolitic. If you have made an impolitic statement, it was a politically unwise one.
  • It is impolitic to fail to remember flowers for your beloved on Valentine's Day, or to fail to show up in class when your grade point average is hanging by a thread. Remember back in 1981 when then U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig informed the press after the assassination attempt on President Reagan that "I am in control here?" Well that was a classic impolitic statement. Poor guy resigned the following year. (Vocabulary.com)

Ngram shows that the term was quite commonly used till the second half of the 19th century, but it has been much less used since than.

Usage examples:,

A liar -- was pummeled by Republicans on Sunday for impolitic comments about President Obama's potential for winning the White House.

One of Congress' most impolitic politicians is next in line for a plum leadership role.

After their disgrace he was led into many impolitic actions by his violent and often cruel propensities.

He had a genius for the impolitic move.


The word 'impolitic' does have several synonyms. I have found the word 'inappropriate' serves as a HCF (Highest Common Factor in Mathematics).

  • 2
    Please identify your sources.
    – TrevorD
    Commented Jul 25, 2016 at 23:16

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