POL'ICY, noun [Latin politia; Gr. city.]
1. policy in its primary signification, is the same as polity, comprehending the fundamental constitution or frame of civil government in a state or kingdom. But by usage, policy is now more generally used to denote what is included under legislation and administration, and may be defined, the art or manner of governing a nation; or that system of measures which the sovereign of a country adopts and pursues, as best adapted to the interests of the nation. Thus we speak of domestic policy or the system of internal regulations in a nation; foreign policy or the measures which respect foreign nations; commercial policy or the measures which respect commerce.
2. Art, prudence, wisdom or dexterity in the management of public affairs; applied to persons governing. It has been the policy of France to preclude females from the throne. It has been the policy of Great Britain to encourage her navy, by keeping her carrying trade in her own hands. In this she manifests sound policy Formerly, England permitted wool to be exported and manufactured in the Low Countries, which was very bad policy
The policy of all laws has made some forms necessary in the wording of last wills and testaments.
All violent policy defeats itself.
3. In common usage, the art, prudence or wisdom of individuals in the management of their private or social concerns.
4. Stratagem; cunning; dexterity of management.
5. A ticket or warrant for money in the public funds.
6. policy in commerce, the writing or instrument by which a contract of indemnity is effected between the insurer and the insured; or the instrument containing the terms or conditions on which a person or company undertakes to indemnify another person or company against losses of property exposed to peculiar hazards, as houses or goods exposed to fire, or ships and goods exposed to destruction on the high seas. This writing is subscribed by the insurer, who is called the underwriter. The terms policy of insurance, or assurance, are also used for the contract between the insured and the underwriter.
Policies are valued or open; valued, when the property or goods insured are valued at prime cost; open, when the goods are not valued, but if lost, their value must be proved.
Wagering policies, which insure sums of money, interest or no interest, are illegal.
All insurances, interest or no interest, or without further proof of interest than the policy itself, are null and void.
The word policy is used also for the writing which insures against other events, as well as against loss of property.