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Glossary of Governance - Government Terms
beginning with letter A
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absolute Tweet Definition of absolute Like Definition of absolute on Facebook
  1. (geometry) In a plane, the two imaginary circular points at infinity; in space of three dimensions, the imaginary circle at infinity.
  2. (grammar) The first of the three degrees of comparison.
  3. That which is independent of context-dependent interpretation, inviolate, fundamental (referring to Adjective Definition 4)
as in moral absolutes
adjective (more absolute or (rarely) absoluter, most absolute or (rarely) absolutest)
  1. Loosed from any limitation or condition; uncontrolled; unrestricted; unconditional; as, absolute authority, monarchy, sovereignty, an absolute promise or command.
    • 1962, Hannah Arendt, On Revolution, (1990), page 155
    • : The more absolute the ruler, the more absolute the revolution will be which replaces him.
      1. complete, Complete in itself; perfect; consummate; faultless.
      absolute perfection
      absolute beauty
    • So absolute she seems, And in herself complete. "w:John Milton, John Milton
      1. Viewed apart from modifying influences or without comparison with other objects; actual; real; " opposed to relative and (compar); as, absolute motion; absolute time or space.
      Absolute rights and duties are such as pertain to man in a state of nature as contradistinguished from relative rights and duties, or such as pertain to him in his social relations.
      1. Loosed from, or unconnected by, dependence on any other being; self-existent; self-sufficing.
      Note: In this sense God is called the Absolute by the Theist. The term is also applied by the Pantheist to the universe, or the total of all existence, as only capable of relations in its parts to each other and to the whole, and as dependent for its existence and its phenomena on its mutually depending forces and their laws.
      1. Capable of being thought or conceived by itself alone; unconditioned; non-relative.
      Note: It is in dispute among philosophers whether the term, in this sense, is not applied to a mere logical fiction or abstraction, or whether the absolute, as thus defined, can be known, as a reality, by the human intellect.
    • To Cusa we can indeed articulately trace, word and thing, the recent philosophy of the absolute. "w:William Hamilton, William Hamilton
      1. (rare) Positive; clear; certain; not doubtful.
    • I am absolute "t was very Cloten. "Shakespeare, Cymbeline, IV,ii
      1. (rare) Authoritative; peremptory.
    • The peddler stopped, and tapped her on the head, With absolute forefinger, brown and ringed. "w:Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning
      1. (chemistry) Pure; unmixed; as, absolute alcohol.
      2. (grammar) Not immediately dependent on the other parts of the sentence in government; as, the case absolute. (See ablative absolute.)
absolute majority Tweet Definition of absolute majority Like Definition of absolute majority on Facebook
  1. A number of votes totalling over 50 per cent, such as the total number of votes or seats obtained by a party that beats the combined opposition.
absolute monarchy Tweet Definition of absolute monarchy Like Definition of absolute monarchy on Facebook
  1. The modern day name which refers to states that have a traditional monarchy in which a sole monarch has absolute and unlimited power over the state. Can sometimes be associated with dictatorship, dictatorships.
absolutism Tweet Definition of absolutism Like Definition of absolutism on Facebook
  1. The state of being absolute; the system or doctrine of the absolute; the principles or practice of absolute or arbitrary government; despotism.
  • The element of absolutism and prelacy was controlling. - Palfrey
    1. (theology) Doctrine of absolute decrees. - Ash
abstain Tweet Definition of abstain Like Definition of abstain on Facebook
  1. (intransitive) refrain, Refrain from (something); hold one's self aloof; to forbear or keep from doing, especially an indulgence of the passions or appetites; -- with from.
  2. (intransitive) To shun voluntarily.
  • Not a few abstained from voting. - Macaulay
Who abstains from meat that is not gaunt? - Shakespeare, Richard II, II-i
  1. (intransitive) Deliberately refrain from casting one's vote at a meeting where one is present.
  2. (transitive) hinder, Hinder; withhold.
  • Whether he men from marrying. - Milton
  • abstention Tweet Definition of abstention Like Definition of abstention on Facebook
    1. The act of abstaining; a holding aloof
    ACT Tweet Definition of ACT Like Definition of ACT on Facebook
    1. Australian Capital Territory (federal territory)
    2. American College Test
    action Tweet Definition of action Like Definition of action on Facebook
    1. Something done so as to accomplish a purpose.
    2. A way of motion or functioning.
    Knead bread with a rocking .
    1. A fast-paced activity.
    an movie
    1. A mechanism; a moving part or assembly.
    a rifle
    1. (music): The set of moving mechanical parts in a keyboard instrument which transfer the motion of the key to the sound-making device.
    2. (slang) sexual, Sexual activity; intercourse.
    She gave him some .
    1. The distance separating the strings and the fretboard on the guitar.
    2. (military) combat, Combat.
    He saw some in the Korean War.
    1. A charge or other process in a law court.
    1. To act on a request etc, in order to put it into effect
    activism Tweet Definition of activism Like Definition of activism on Facebook
    1. The practice of using action to achieve a result, such as political demonstration or a strike in support of or in opposition to an issue.
    activist Tweet Definition of activist Like Definition of activist on Facebook
    1. one who is politically active in the role of a citizen; especially, one who campaigns for change
    address Tweet Definition of address Like Definition of address on Facebook
    1. Direction or superscription of a letter, or the name, title, and place of residence of the person addressed.
    2. Act of addressing one's self to a person; verbal application.
    3. A formal communication, either written or spoken; a discourse; a speech; a formal application to any one; a petition; a formal statement on some subject or special occasion; as, an address of thanks, an address to the voters.
    4. Manner of speaking to another; delivery; as, a man of pleasing or insinuating address.
    5. Attention in the way one's addresses to a lady. Addison.
    6. Skill; skillful management; dexterity; adroitness.
    7. (obsolete) Act of preparing one's self. Jer Taylor.
    8. street address
    verb (inf=to address, addresses, addressing, addressed or {obsolete) addrest)
    1. (intransitive) (obsolete) To prepare one's self.
    Let us to tend on Hector's heels. - Shakespeare
    1. (intransitive) (obsolete) To direct speech.
    Young Turnus to the beauteous maid . - Dryden
    1. (transitive) (obsolete) To aim; to direct.
    And this good knight his way with me addrest. - Spenser
    1. (transitive) (obsolete) To prepare or make ready.
    His foe was soon addressed. - Spenser
    Turnus addressed his men to single fight. - Dryden
    The five foolish virgins addressed themselves at the noise of the bridegroom's coming. - Jeremy Taylor
    1. (transitive) (reflexive) To prepare one's self; to apply one's skill or energies (to some object); to betake.
    These men addressed themselves to the task. - Macaulay
    1. (transitive) (archaic) To clothe or array; to dress.
    Tecla ... addressed herself in man's apparel. - Jewel
    1. (transitive) To direct, as words (to any one or any thing); to make, as a speech, petition, etc. (to any one, an audience).
    The young hero had addressed his players to him for his assistance. - Dryden
    1. (transitive) To direct speech to; to make a communication to, whether spoken or written; to apply to by words, as by a speech, petition, etc., to speak to; to accost.
    Are not your orders to the senate? - Addison
    The representatives of the nation addressed the king. - Swift
    1. (transitive) To direct in writing, as a letter; to superscribe, or to direct and transmit; as, he addressed a letter.
    2. (transitive) To make suit to as a lover; to court; to woo.
    3. (transitive) To consign or intrust to the care of another, as agent or factor; as, the ship was addressed to a merchant in Baltimore.
    4. (transitive) To address one's self to; to prepare one's self for; to apply one's self to; to direct one's speech or discourse to.
    5. (transitive) (formal) To handle, discuss about a problem especially to solve it.
    This article will how to write a good entry for Wiktionary.
    administration Tweet Definition of administration Like Definition of administration on Facebook
    1. The act of administering; government of public affairs; the service rendered, or duties assumed, in conducting affairs; the conducting of any office or employment; direction; management.
    2. The executive part of government; the persons collectively who are intrusted with the execution of laws and the superintendence of public affairs; the chief magistrate and his cabinet or council; or the council, or ministry, alone, as in Great Britain.
    3. The act of administering, or tendering something to another; dispensation; as, the administration of a medicine, of an oath, of justice, or of the sacrament.
    agency Tweet Definition of agency Like Definition of agency on Facebook
    noun (agencies)
    1. The faculty of acting or of exerting power; the state of being in action; action; instrumentality.
    The superintendence and agency of Providence in the natural world. --Woodward.
    1. The office of an agent, or factor; the relation between a principal and his agent; business of one entrusted with the concerns of another.
    2. The place of business of an agent.
    agent Tweet Definition of agent Like Definition of agent on Facebook
    1. One who exerts power, or has the power to act; an actor.
    Heaven made us agents, free to good or ill. --Dryden.
    1. One who acts for, or in the place of, another, by authority from him; one intrusted with the business of another; a substitute; a deputy; a factor.
    2. An active power or cause; that which has the power to produce an effect; as, a physical, chemical, or medicinal agent; as, heat is a powerful agent.
    3. (computing) In the client-server model, the part of the system that performs information preparation and exchange on behalf of a client or server. Especially in the phrase “intelligent agent” it implies some kind of automatic process which can communicate with other agents to perform some collective task on behalf of one or more humans.
    agitprop Tweet Definition of agitprop Like Definition of agitprop on Facebook
    noun (agitprops, -)
    1. (uncountable) political propaganda disseminated through art, literature, drama etc., especially Communist propaganda
    2. (countable) An organization or person engaged in disseminating such propaganda.
    AID Tweet Definition of AID Like Definition of AID on Facebook
    1. Agency for International Development
    alderman Tweet Definition of alderman Like Definition of alderman on Facebook
    1. a member of several municipal legislative bodies in a city or town
    2. (1811) A roasted turkey garnished with sausages; the latter are supposed to represent the gold chain worn by those magistrates. (1811 Dictionary of Vulgar Tongue)
    3. (slang) a man's pot belly
    alien Tweet Definition of alien Like Definition of alien on Facebook
    1. (1340) A person, animal, plant or other thing which is from outside the family, group, organization, or territory under consideration.
    2. () A foreigner who is not a subject of the country in which he lives.
    3. (1935) Any life form of non-Earth origin.
    1. To estrange; to alienate
    1. (1330) Pertaining to an alien.
    2. (1382) Being exceedingly unfamiliar with or removed from a concept.
    alignment Tweet Definition of alignment Like Definition of alignment on Facebook
    1. An arrangement of items in a line.
    2. The process of adjusting a mechanism such that its parts are aligned; the condition of having its parts so adjusted.
    3. An alliance of factions.
    1. (astronomy) The conjunction of two celestial objects.
    alliance Tweet Definition of alliance Like Definition of alliance on Facebook
    1. (uncountable) The state of being allied; the act of allying or uniting; a union or connection of interests between families, states, parties, etc., especially between families by marriage and states by compact, treaty, or league; as, matrimonial alliances; an alliance between church and state; an alliance between France and England.
    2. (countable) Any union resembling that of families or states; union by relationship in qualities; affinity.
    The alliance of the principles of the world with those of the gospel. --C. J. Smith.
    The alliance . . . between logic and metaphysics. --Mansel.
    1. The persons or parties allied. --Udall.
    2. (countable) A treaty between nations for their mutual advantage
    allied Tweet Definition of allied Like Definition of allied on Facebook
    adjective (no comparative or superlative)
    1. Joined as ally, allies.
    2. The Treaty of Vienna..had bound the Allied Powers to make war together upon Napoleon.
    allies Tweet Definition of allies Like Definition of allies on Facebook
    1. (plural of, ally)
    1. (third-person singular of, ally)
    Ally Tweet Definition of Ally Like Definition of Ally on Facebook
    proper noun
    1. A diminutive of the female given name Alison.
    Althing Tweet Definition of Althing Like Definition of Althing on Facebook
    proper noun
    1. the national parliament of Iceland
    ambassador Tweet Definition of ambassador Like Definition of ambassador on Facebook
    1. A minister of the highest rank sent to a foreign court to represent there his sovereign or country.
    Note: Ambassadors are either ordinary or resident or extraordinary, that is, sent upon some special or unusual occasion or errand. --Abbott.
    1. An official messenger and representative.
      1. (1811) A trick to duck some ignorant fellow or landsman, frequently played on board ships in the warm latitudes. It is thus managed: A large tub is filled with water, and two stools placed on each side of it. Over the whole is thrown a tarpaulin, or old sail: this is kept tight by two persons, who are to represent the king and queen of a foreign country, and are seated on the stools. The person intended to be ducked plays the Ambassador, and after repeating a ridiculous speech dictated to him, is led in great form up to the throne, and seated between the king and queen, who rising suddenly as soon as he is seated, he falls backwards into the tub of water. (1811 Dictionary of Vulgar Tongue)
    amendment Tweet Definition of amendment Like Definition of amendment on Facebook
    1. An alteration or change for the better; correction of a fault or of faults; reformation of life by quitting vices.
    2. In public bodies; Any alteration made or proposed to be made in a bill or motion that adds, changes, substitutes, or omits.
    3. Correction of an error in a writ or process.
    4. An addition to and/or alteration of the United States Constitution, as in "The First Amendment guarantees the right of free speech."
    5. That which is added; that which is used to increase or supplement something.
    a soil
    amnesty Tweet Definition of amnesty Like Definition of amnesty on Facebook
    noun (amnesties)
    1. forgetfullness, Forgetfulness; cessation of remembrance of wrong; oblivion.
    2. An act of the sovereign power granting oblivion, or a general pardon, for a past offense, as to subjects concerned in an insurrection.
    anarch Tweet Definition of anarch Like Definition of anarch on Facebook
    1. The author of anarchy; one who excites revolt.
    anarchic Tweet Definition of anarchic Like Definition of anarchic on Facebook
    1. Relating to, supporting, or likely to cause anarchy.
    2. chaotic, Chaotic, without law or order.
    anarchism Tweet Definition of anarchism Like Definition of anarchism on Facebook
    1. Any theory or doctrine that proposes the absence of government in all forms.
    2. Specifically, a political philosophical belief that all forms of involuntary rule or government are undesirable or unnecessary and that society could function without a ruler or involuntary government (state).
    anarchist Tweet Definition of anarchist Like Definition of anarchist on Facebook
    1. One who believes in or advocates the absence of government in all forms (cf. anarchism), especially one who works toward the realization of such.
    2. One who disregards laws and social norms as a form of rebellion against authority.
    3. By extension from previous sense, one who promotes chaos and lawlessness; a nihilist or terrorist.
    4. One who resents outside control or influence on his or her life, in particular the government, and therefore desires the absence of political control.
    anarchy Tweet Definition of anarchy Like Definition of anarchy on Facebook
    noun (anarchies, -)
    1. (uncountable) The state of a society being without authoritarians or a governing body.
    2. (countable) A chaotic and confusing absence of any form of political authority or government.
    3. (uncountable) anarchism, Anarchism; the political theory that a community is best organize, organized by the voluntary cooperation of individuals, rather than by government, which is regarded as being coercive by nature.
    4. confusion in general; disorder
    ANC Tweet Definition of ANC Like Definition of ANC on Facebook
    1. w:African National Congress, African National Congress
    Anglo-Indian Tweet Definition of Anglo-Indian Like Definition of Anglo-Indian on Facebook
    1. a person of mixed English and Indian parentage
    2. a person from the Anglo-Indian community
    3. a person of English citizenship or ancestry who lives in India
    1. of, relating to, or between England and India
    annex Tweet Definition of annex Like Definition of annex on Facebook
    noun (annexes)
    1. An addition, an extension.
    verb (annex, es)
    1. To add something to another, to incorporate into.
    The ancient city of Petra was annexed by Rome.
    annexation Tweet Definition of annexation Like Definition of annexation on Facebook
    1. the act of annexing, or territories that have been annexed
    2. the legal merging of a territory into another body
    apartheid Tweet Definition of apartheid Like Definition of apartheid on Facebook
    1. The policy of racial separation used in South Africa from 1948 to 1990.
    2. By extension, any similar policy of racial separation.
    appease Tweet Definition of appease Like Definition of appease on Facebook
    verb (appeas, ing)
    1. To make quiet; to calm; to reduce to a state of peace; to still; to pacify; to dispel (anger or hatred); as, to appease the tumult of the ocean, or of the passions; to appease hunger or thirst.
    appoint Tweet Definition of appoint Like Definition of appoint on Facebook
    1. (transitive): To fix with power or firmness; to establish; to mark out.
    When he appointed the foundations of the earth. --Prov. viii. 29.
    1. (transitive): To fix by a decree, order, command, resolve, decision, or mutual agreement; to constitute; to ordain; to prescribe; to fix the time and place of.
    Thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall . --2 Sam. xv. 15.
    He hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness. --Acts xvii. 31.
    Say that the emperor request a parley ... and the meeting. --Shak.
    1. (transitive): To assign, designate, or set apart by authority.
    Aaron and his shall go in, and them every one to his service. --Num. iv. 19.
    These were cities appointed for all the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them. --Josh. xx. 9.
    1. (transitive): To furnish in all points; to provide with everything necessary by way of equipment; to equip; to fit out.
    The English, being well appointed, did so entertain them that their ships departed terribly torn. --Hayward.
    1. (transitive), (Law): To direct, designate, or limit; to make or direct a new disposition of, by virtue of a power contained in a conveyance;—said of an estate already conveyed. --Burrill. Kent.
    appointed Tweet Definition of appointed Like Definition of appointed on Facebook
    1. Past tense of to appoint.
    appointee Tweet Definition of appointee Like Definition of appointee on Facebook
    1. a person who is appointed
    • The ambassador is a political , not a career diplomat.
    appointive Tweet Definition of appointive Like Definition of appointive on Facebook
    1. of, pertaining to, or filled by appointment
    appointment Tweet Definition of appointment Like Definition of appointment on Facebook
    1. The act of appointing; designation of a person to hold an office or discharge a trust.
    He erred by the of unsuitable men.
    1. The state of being appointed to a service or office; an office to which one is appointed; station; position.
    the of treasurer
    1. Stipulation; agreement; the act of fixing by mutual agreement.
    2. An arrangement for a meeting; an engagement.
    They made an to meet at six.
    I'm leaving work early because I have a doctor's .
    1. Decree; direction; established order or constitutio.
    To submit to the divine appointments.
    According to the of the priests. --Ezra vi. 9.
    1. (Law) The exercise of the power of designating (under a power of appointment) a person to enjoy an estate or other specific property; also, the instrument by which the designation is made.
    2. Equipment, furniture, as for a ship or an army; whatever is appointed for use and management; outfit; (pl.) the accouterments of military officers or soldiers, as belts, sashes, swords.
    The cavaliers emulated their chief in the richness of their appointments. --Prescott.
    I'll prove it in my shackles, with these hands Void of , that thou liest. --Beau. & Fl.
    1. A honorary part or exercise, as an oration, etc., at a public exhibition of a college; as, to have an appointment. U.S.
    apportionment Tweet Definition of apportionment Like Definition of apportionment on Facebook
    1. The act of apportioning or the state of being apportioned
    2. The distribution of members of the House of Representatives according to the population of the various states
    3. The allocation of direct taxation according to the population of the various states
    appropriate Tweet Definition of appropriate Like Definition of appropriate on Facebook
    verb (appropriat, ing)
    1. (transitive) To take to one's self in exclusion of others; to claim or use as by an exclusive right; as in: "let no man appropriate the use of a common benefit."
    2. (transitive) To set apart for, or assign to, a particular person or use, in exclusion of all others;—with to or for; as, a spot of ground is appropriated for a garden; to appropriate money for the increase of the navy.
    3. (transitive) To make suitable; to suit. Archaic --Paley.
    4. (transitive) (Eng. Eccl. Law) To annex, as a benefice, to a spiritual corporation, as its property. --Blackstone.
    1. (obsolete) Set apart for a particular use or person.
    2. Hence: Belonging peculiarly; peculiar; suitable; fit; proper.
    The headmaster wondered what an measure would be to make the pupil behave better.
    1. In its strict and appropriate meaning. --Porteus.
    Appropriate acts of divine worship. --Stillingfleet.
    It is not at all times easy to find words to express our ideas. --Locke.
    1. Suitable to the social situation or to social respect or social discreetness; socially correct; socially discreet; well-mannered; proper.
    I don't think it was for the cashier to tell me outloud in front of all those people at the check-out that my hair-piece looked like it was falling out of place.
    appropriation Tweet Definition of appropriation Like Definition of appropriation on Facebook
    1. the act of appropriating, or something appropriated
    2. public funds set aside for a specific purpose
    3. the use of borrowed elements in the creation of a new work
    4. (sociology) the assimilation of concepts into a governing framework
    approve Tweet Definition of approve Like Definition of approve on Facebook
    verb (approv, ing)
    1. (transitive) To sanction officially; to ratify; to confirm.
    Although we may disagree with it, we must nevertheless the sentence handed down by the court-martial.
    1. (transitive) To regard as good; to commend; to be pleased with; to think well of.
    We the measure of the administration, for it is an excellent decision.
    1. (transitive) To make proof of; to demonstrate; to prove or show practically.
    Opportunities to . . . worth. --Emerson.
    He had approved himself a great warrior. --Macaulay.
    'T is an old lesson; Time approves it true. --Byron.
    His account . . . approves him a man of thought. --Parkman.
    1. (transitive) To make or show to be worthy of approbation or acceptance.
    The first care and concern must be to approve himself to God. --Rogers.
    Note: This word, when it signifies to be pleased with, to think favorably (of), is often followed by of.
    They had not approved of the deposition of James. --Macaulay.
    They approved of the political institutions. --W. Black.
    Arab League Tweet Definition of Arab League Like Definition of Arab League on Facebook
    proper nounArab league, Leaue
    1. an international organization of Arabic-speaking nations, established to coordinate political, cultural, health and communications activities
    arbitrary Tweet Definition of arbitrary Like Definition of arbitrary on Facebook
    1. Determined by impulse rather than reason.
    2. Chosen for no reason, somewhat random.
    3. Outcome usually technically logical.
    The equation is true for an value of x.
    archduchess Tweet Definition of archduchess Like Definition of archduchess on Facebook
    1. a daughter or granddaughter of the Emperor of Austria-Hungary, or the wife of a son or grandson of the Emperor of Austria-Hungary
    • The male equivalent is archduke.
    archduke Tweet Definition of archduke Like Definition of archduke on Facebook
    1. The son or male-line grandson of an Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
    World War I traditionally started with the assassination of Archduke Francis (Franz) Ferdinand.
    aristocracy Tweet Definition of aristocracy Like Definition of aristocracy on Facebook
    noun (pl=aristocracies)
    1. The nobility, or the hereditary ruling class
    2. Government by such a class, or a state with such a government
    3. A class of people considered (not normally universally) superior to others
    aristocrat Tweet Definition of aristocrat Like Definition of aristocrat on Facebook
    1. One of the aristocracy, nobility, or people of rank in a community; one of a ruling class; a noble (originally in Revolutionary France).
    aristocratic Tweet Definition of aristocratic Like Definition of aristocratic on Facebook
    1. Of or pertaining to an aristocracy; consisting in, or favoring, a government of nobles, or principal men; as, an aristocratic constitution.
    2. Partaking of aristocracy; befitting aristocracy; characteristic of, or originating with, the aristocracy; as, an aristocratic measure; aristocratic pride or manners.
    artel Tweet Definition of artel Like Definition of artel on Facebook
    1. a Russian or Soviet craftsmen's collective
    Aryan Tweet Definition of Aryan Like Definition of Aryan on Facebook
    1. (context, theosophy, Germanic mysticism, nazism) A member of an (alleged) master race comprised of non-Jewish Caucasians, especially those of Nordic or Germanic descent.