Meaning: Politics with a big "P"


In a tourism English textbook I stumbled over the following sentence “Politics with an even bigger ‘P’ have opened up parts of the world that the most adventurous would have been reluctant to visit thirty years ago, even if they had been allowed in.”

The sentence appears in an article about changes and trends in tourism.

When I googled the phrase “politics with a big ‘P’”, I realized that it is used quite often but I couldn’t find a definition.

What does it stand for and what does “politics with a small ‘p’” refer to?

Thanks a lot for your help!

‘Noun + with a big N’ simply means ‘on a grand scale’, ‘in its purist/most fundamental/most impressive form’, etc.

“Most importantly, we wanted to commemorate our friend and colleague, but as we discussed the idea, the realisation of how under-lauded our genre truly is began to hit home,” said Miller. “I’m talking about adult Fantasy with a big ‘F’ here: commercial, loved and bought by millions of readers worldwide.”

Raku with a big “R”: This humble looking tea bowl, which will be on view this summer in the Lords of the Samurai exhibition, is attributed to Raku Chojiro (died 1589) the first generation of Japan’s most famous family of ceramic artists represented today by Raku Kichizaemon (born 1949) the 15th generation in the lineage. “Raku” carries multiple meanings. It is the name of one of Japan’s most prestigious artistic families, founded by the artist who made this teabowl; and it describes teabowls fired in small kilns by generations of the Raku family. Potters around the world today use “raku” to describe a type of low-temperature firing that was inspired by Japanese Raku but which has morphed into something completely different, untethered to Japanese tradition.


You asked about the meaning of ‘politics with a small p’. This could mean ‘on a small scale’ or ‘in general’.There is an example of how this could be used when talking about politics in the UK. One of the political parties in the UK is called the Conservative party. The word ‘conservative’ also has a general meaning of ‘traditional’. If you wanted to ask someone if they had a traditional outlook and wanted tp avoid any confusion, you would ask: Are you conservative by nature? I’m using the word with a small ‘c’ of course.