It refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance—organized control over a human community, particularly a state. The academic study focusing on just politics, which is therefore more targeted than all Political science, is sometimes referred to as Politology (not to be confused with Politicology).
In modern nation-states, people have formed political parties to represent their ideas. They agree to take the same position on many issues and agree to support the same changes to law and the same leaders.
Politics is a multifaceted word. It has a set of fairly specific meanings that are descriptive and nonjudgmental (such as "the art or science of government" and "political principles"), but often does carry a connotation of dishonest malpractice. The word has been used negatively for many years: the British national anthem as published in 1745 calls on God to "Confound their politics", and the phrase "play politics", for example, has been in use since at least 1853, when abolitionist Wendell Phillips declared: "We do not play politics; anti-slavery is no half-jest with us."
The word comes from the same Greek word from which the title of Aristotle's book Politics (Πολιτικά, Polis) also derives; polis means "affairs of the cities". The book title was rendered in Early Modern English in the mid-15th century as "Polettiques"; it became "politics" in Modern English. The singular politic first attested in English 1430 and comes from Middle Frenchpolitique, in turn from Latinpoliticus, which is the Latinization of the Greek πολιτικός (politikos), meaning amongst others "of, for, or relating to citizens", "civil", "civic", "belonging to the state", in turn from πολίτης (polites), "citizen" and that from πόλις (polis), "city".
Formal politics refers to the operation of a constitutional system of government and publicly defined institutions and procedures. Political parties, public policy or discussions about war and foreign affairs would fall under the category of Formal Politics. Many people view formal politics as something outside of themselves, but that can still affect their daily lives.
Semi-formal politics is politics in government associations such as neighborhood associations, or student governments where student government political party politics is often important.
Informal politics is understood as forming alliances, exercising power and protecting and advancing particular ideas or goals. Generally, this includes anything affecting one's daily life, such as the way an office or household is managed, or how one person or group exercises influence over another. Informal Politics is typically understood as everyday politics, hence the idea that "politics is everywhere".