What does policy mean?

Definitions for policy
ˈpɒl ə sipol·i·cy

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word policy.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. policynoun

    a plan of action adopted by an individual or social group

    "it was a policy of retribution"; "a politician keeps changing his policies"

  2. policynoun

    a line of argument rationalizing the course of action of a government

    "they debated the policy or impolicy of the proposed legislation"

  3. policy, insurance policy, insurancenoun

    written contract or certificate of insurance

    "you should have read the small print on your policy"

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Policynoun

    Etymology: πολιτεία; politia, Lat.

    The policy of that purpose is made more in the marriage, than the love of the parties. William Shakespeare, Ant. and Cleopatra.

    If it be honour in your wars to seem
    The same you are not, which for your best ends
    You call your policy; how is’t less or worse,
    But it shall hold companionship in peace
    With honour as in war. William Shakespeare, Coriolanus.

    If she be curst, it is for policy,
    For she’s not froward, but modest. William Shakespeare.

    The best rule of policy, is to prefer the doing of justice before all enjoyments. Charles I .

    The wisdom of this world is sometimes taken in scripture for policy, and consists in a certain dexterity of managing business for a man’s secular advantage. Robert South, Sermons.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Policynoun

    civil polity

  2. Policynoun

    the settled method by which the government and affairs of a nation are, or may be, administered; a system of public or official administration, as designed to promote the external or internal prosperity of a state

  3. Policynoun

    the method by which any institution is administered; system of management; course

  4. Policynoun

    management or administration based on temporal or material interest, rather than on principles of equity or honor; hence, worldly wisdom; dexterity of management; cunning; stratagem

  5. Policynoun

    prudence or wisdom in the management of public and private affairs; wisdom; sagacity; wit

  6. Policynoun

    motive; object; inducement

  7. Policyverb

    to regulate by laws; to reduce to order

  8. Policynoun

    a ticket or warrant for money in the public funds

  9. Policynoun

    the writing or instrument in which a contract of insurance is embodied; an instrument in writing containing the terms and conditions on which one party engages to indemnify another against loss arising from certain hazards, perils, or risks to which his person or property may be exposed. See Insurance

  10. Policynoun

    a method of gambling by betting as to what numbers will be drawn in a lottery; as, to play policy

  11. Etymology: [F. police; cf. Pr. polissia, Sp. plizia, It. plizza; of uncertain origin; cf. L. pollex thumb (as being used in pressing the seal), in LL. also, seal; or cf. LL. politicum, poleticum, polecticum, L. polyptychum, account book, register, fr. Gr. having many folds or leaves; many + fold, leaf, from to fold; or cf. LL. apodixa a receipt.]


  1. Policy

    A policy is a principle or rule to guide decisions and achieve rational outcomes. A policy is a statement of intent, and is implemented as a procedure or protocol. Policies are generally adopted by the Board of or senior governance body within an organization whereas procedures or protocols would be developed and adopted by senior executive officers. Policies can assist in both subjective and objective decision making. Policies to assist in subjective decision making would usually assist senior management with decisions that must consider the relative merits of a number of factors before making decisions and as a result are often hard to objectively test e.g. work-life balance policy. In contrast policies to assist in objective decision making are usually operational in nature and can be objectively tested e.g. password policy. The term may apply to government, private sector organizations and groups, and individuals. Presidential executive orders, corporate privacy policies, and parliamentary rules of order are all examples of policy. Policy differs from rules or law. While law can compel or prohibit behaviors, policy merely guides actions toward those that are most likely to achieve a desired outcome.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Policy

    pol′i-si, n. the art or manner of regulating or guiding conduct: the method and forms according to which the government and business of a country are carried on: a system of administration guided more by interest than by principle: dexterity of management: prudence: cunning: in Scotland, (esp. in pl.) the pleasure-grounds around a mansion. [O. Fr. policie (Fr. police)—L. politia—Gr. politeia.]

  2. Policy

    pol′i-si, n. a warrant for money in the funds: a writing containing a contract of insurance: a kind of gambling by betting on the numbers to be drawn in a lottery.—n. Pol′icy-hold′er, one who holds a policy or contract of insurance. [Fr. police, a policy—L. polyptychum, a register—Gr. polyptychonpolys, many, ptyx, ptychos, fold.]

The Roycroft Dictionary

  1. policy

    Leaving a few things unsaid.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. policy

    A written contract, by which the insurers oblige themselves to indemnify sea-risks under various conditions. An interest policy, is where the insurer has a real assignable interest in the thing insured; a wager policy, is where the insurer has no substantial interest in the thing insured; an open policy, is where the amount of interest is not fixed, but left to be ascertained in case of loss; a valued policy, is where an actual value has been set on the ship or goods.

Editors Contribution

  1. policy

    An intention or plan of action.

    The governmental policy was one of unity and multi-party working for the benefit of everyone within a country, nation or state.

    Submitted by MaryC on February 16, 2020  

Suggested Resources

  1. policy

    Song lyrics by policy -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by policy on the Lyrics.com website.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'policy' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #332

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'policy' in Written Corpus Frequency: #421

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'policy' in Nouns Frequency: #61

How to pronounce policy?

How to say policy in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of policy in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of policy in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of policy in a Sentence

  1. Roberta Jacobson:

    As a central element of our policy, we pressed the Cuban government for improved human rights conditions, including freedom of expression.

  2. President Barack Obama on Wednesday:

    I raise this recent history because now more than ever, we need clear thinking in our foreign policy, and I raise this history because it bears directly on how we respond to the Iranian nuclear program.

  3. Karen Bass:

    Everybody knows that the welfare of children and families has been a passion and policy focus of mine for decades, the only reason I studied nights and weekends for a master’s degree was to become a better advocate for children and families — period.

  4. New York Sen. Chuck Schumer:

    This new proposal will not only put a dent in family's wallets but will also hurt business travelers because the proposed policy also prevents the use of roller bags, enough already! We pay extra for checked baggage, leg room, head phones, pillows and even peanuts. The airlines are making record profits and don't need to add this further burden on the backs of travelers.

  5. Chris Smith:

    A status quo U.S. policy is unsustainable if Beijing continues to insist that Hong Kong become like mainland China, the special privileges the U.S. grants to Hong Kong can only endure if Beijing fulfills its longstanding obligation under international law to maintain Hong Kong’s autonomy, guarantee human rights and allow free and fair elections in 2017 and beyond.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for policy

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for policy »


Find a translation for the policy definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:

Discuss these policy definitions with the community:

1 Comment
  • Annie Luckett
    Annie Luckett
    I think a policy is a princible or rules to guide, to guide my decisions and achieve rational outcome.

    To avoid plagiarism, you must write a story in your own words, because if you write words for words that is plagiarism. 
    LikeReplyReport 26 years ago


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"policy." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 31 Jan. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/policy>.

Are we missing a good definition for policy? Don't keep it to yourself...

Image or illustration of


Credit »

Browse Definitions.net

Free, no signup required:

Add to Chrome

Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

Free, no signup required:

Add to Firefox

Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!


Are you a words master?

occurring from time to time
  • A. greedy
  • B. alternate
  • C. brilliant
  • D. occasional

Nearby & related entries:

Alternative searches for policy: