Polity (Greek: Πολιτεία or Πολίτευμα transliterated as Politeía or Políteuma) was originally a term used in Ancient Greece to refer to the many Greek city states that had an assembly of citizens as part of the political process. Suffrage did not include women, slaves, serfs, or resident aliens. Thus, voting citizens usually included only a minority of the adult males.
Today it is usually a general term that refers to the political organization of a group. It is often used to describe a loosely organized society such as a tribe or community, but can mean any political group including a government or empire, corporation or academy. It is also used in the phrase ecclesiastical polity as a synonym of church government.