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policy (social policy)

Definition of Policy

(noun) Any course of action or procedure by an individual or group with authority and power that determines actions, decisions, and priorities, and that affect others.

Examples of Policy

  • The syllabus distributed to students at the beginning of a class.
  • The student handbook of a school.

Policy Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: pol·i·cy

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /ˈpɑləsi/
  • British English – /ˈpɒlᵻsi/

Usage Notes

  • Plural: policies
  • The terms “policy” and “social policy” are used interchangeably in a sociological context.
  • A (noun) policy maker makes policies.

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Additional Information

Related Terms


Cite the Definition of Policy

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “policy.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved December 9, 2019 (https://sociologydictionary.org/policy/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

policy. (2014). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/policy/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “policy.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed December 9, 2019. https://sociologydictionary.org/policy/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“policy.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2014. Web. 9 Dec. 2019. <https://sociologydictionary.org/policy/>.