In politics, a diet (//, //) is a formal deliberative assembly. The term is mainly used historically for the Imperial Diet, the general assembly of the Imperial Estates of the Holy Roman Empire, and for the legislative bodies of certain countries. Modern usage mainly relates to the National Diet of Japan, or the German Bundestag, the Federal Diet.
The term (also in the nutritional sense) might be derived from Medieval Latin dieta, meaning both "parliamentary assembly" and "daily food allowance", from earlier Latin diaeta transcribing Classical Greek δίαιτα diaita, meaning "way of living", and hence also "diet", "regular (daily) work".
In an alternative view, diet means "people" (cf diot[a] in Old High German). The word is related to Deutsch, Dutch, and Diets (a Dutch word referring to the people from the Low Countries or their language). The Diet is the annual meeting of the people, a Germanic tradition.
Through a false etymology, reflected in the spelling change replacing ae with e, the word came to be associated with Latin dies, "day". The word came to be used in the sense of "an assembly" because of its use for the work of an assembly meeting on a daily basis, and hence for the assembly itself. The association with dies is reflected in the German language use of Tagung (meeting) and -tag (not only meaning "day", as in Montag—Monday—but also "parliament", "council", or other law-deliberating chamber, as in Bundestag or Reichstag).
In this sense, it commonly refers to the Imperial Diet assemblies of the Holy Roman Empire:
The Croatian word for a legislative assembly is sabor (from the verb sabrati se, "to assemble"); in historic contexts it is often translated with "diet" in English, as in "the Diet of Dalmatia" (Dalmatinski sabor), "the Croatian Diet" (Hrvatski sabor), "the Hungarian-Croatian Diet" (Ugarsko-hrvatski sabor), or Diet of Bosnia ("Bosansko-hercegovački sabor").
The Riksdag of the Estates was the diet of the four estates of Sweden, from the 15th century until 1866. The Diet of Finland was the successor to the Riksdag of the Estates in the Grand Duchy of Finland, from 1809 to 1906.
- The National Diet of Japan, indicating the heavy Prussian influence on the Imperial Diet of the Meiji Constitution as the predecessor of the National Diet.
- Some universities in the UK and India refer to the period of formal examination and the conclusion of an academic term as an "examination diet".