See also: machiavellian


Alternative formsEdit


From the name of the Italian statesman and writer Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527), whose work The Prince (1532) advises that acquiring and exercising power may require unethical methods.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌmæk.i.əˈvɛl.i.ən/, /ˌmæk.jəˈvɛl.i.ən/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌmɑk.i.əˈvɛl.i.ən/, /ˌmæk.jəˈvɛl.i.ən/
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Machiavellian (comparative more Machiavellian, superlative most Machiavellian)

  1. Attempting to achieve goals by cunning, scheming, and unscrupulous methods, especially in politics or in advancing one's career.
    Iago is the Machiavellian antagonist in William Shakespeare's play, Othello.
  2. Related to the philosophical system of Niccolò Machiavelli.
    • 2006, Mark Vernon, Philosophy and Life, "Plato or Machiavelli",
      It is Machiavellian, in the sense that it revolves around the question of how to maintain power.

Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


Machiavellian (plural Machiavellians)

  1. A ruthless schemer.