Body politic

Body politic is a phrase referring to a collective body of people belonging to a country, state, or society. In other words, a collection of politically organized people. It is sometimes used to describe a group as a single unit, unified in purpose or action. Usually it is used with the article the, as in the body politic.

This phrase is appositive, which means the modifier comes after the noun it relates to. Politic is describing body, not the other way around.

The phrase has origins in the late 140os and early 1500s. With some ups and downs in popularity, the phrase’s usage has stayed relatively consistent for the past two centuries.

Examples

Abbott told confidantes late last year during his “barnacle-removal’’ phase that he accepted it would be a serious political problem if the media and the body politic was still obsessing about Credlin in February. [Herald Sun]

It feels like an injury to the body politic, a toxic injection right into the public femoral.

Some believe that this is a clear sign of leadership crisis bedeviling the ruling ZANU PF and Zimbabwe’s body politic at large where there is no trust among the leadership and bootlicking is the order of the days. [Nehanda Radio]

It is psychologically difficult enough to make such a leap on behalf of utter strangers, but the difficulty is greatly compounded by the many clashing narratives that divide a body politic into various struggling tribes. [The Federalist]

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