majority


majority
/meuh jawr"i tee, -jor"-/, n., pl. majorities.
1. the greater part or number; the number larger than half the total (opposed to minority): the majority of the population.
2. a number of voters or votes, jurors, or others in agreement, constituting more than half of the total number.
3. the amount by which the greater number, as of votes, surpasses the remainder (distinguished from plurality).
4. the party or faction with the majority vote: The Democratic party is the majority.
5. the state or time of being of full legal age: to attain one's majority.
6. the military rank or office of a major.
7. join the majority or the great majority, to die.
[1545-55; < ML majoritas. See MAJOR, -ITY]
Syn. 3. MAJORITY, PLURALITY, in the context of an election, poll, or other voting situation resulting in a statistically based statement, both denote an amount or number larger than some other. In situations in which only two candidates, options, or positions are concerned, the terms are interchangeable, though MAJORITY is by far the more commonly used: She beat her opponent by a large majority. The proposal received a large plurality of "Yes" votes. When three or more choices are available, however, a distinction is made between MAJORITY and PLURALITY.
A MAJORITY, then, consists of more than one-half of all the votes cast, while a PLURALITY is merely the number of votes one candidate receives in excess of the votes for the candidate with the next largest number. Thus, in an election in which three candidates receive respectively 500, 300, and 200 votes, the first candidate has a plurality of 200 votes, but not a majority of all the votes cast. If the three candidates receive 600, 300, and 100 votes, the first has a majority of 100 votes (that is 100 votes more than one-half the total of 1000 cast) and a plurality of 300 votes over the nearest opponent.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • majority — We are concerned here with three related uses, two of them relatively straightforward and one that gives rise to a difficulty: 1. majority = ‘a superiority in numbers’, especially in political contexts, ‘the amount by which a winning vote exceeds …   Modern English usage

  • majority — ma·jor·i·ty /mə jȯr ə tē/ n pl ties 1 a: legal age b: the status of one who has reached legal age 2 a: a number or quantity greater than half of a total compare plu …   Law dictionary

  • Majority — • The state of a person or thing greater, or superior, in relation to another person or thing Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Majority     Majority      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Majority — Ma*jor i*ty, n.; pl. {Majorities}. [F. majorit[ e]. See {Major}.] 1. The quality or condition of being major or greater; superiority. Specifically: (a) The military rank of a major. (b) The condition of being of full age, or authorized by law to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • majority — majority, plurality are arbitrarily defined in the United States, especially by statute, when they refer to an excess of votes as determining an election. Both imply an excess of votes over the next highest candidate. The distinction between the… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • majority — ► NOUN (pl. majorities) 1) the greater number. 2) Brit. the number by which the votes cast for one party or candidate exceed those for the next. 3) the age when a person is legally considered a full adult, usually 18 or 21. USAGE Strictly… …   English terms dictionary

  • majority — (n.) 1550s, condition of being greater, superiority, from M.Fr. majorité (16c.), from M.L. majoritatem (nom. majoritas) majority, from L. maior greater (see MAJOR (Cf. major) (adj.)). Sense of state of being of full age is attested from 1560s;… …   Etymology dictionary

  • majority — [n1] plurality, most best part*, bulk, greater number, greater part, larger part, lion’s share*, mass, max*, more, more than half*, preponderance, superiority; concepts 766,829,835 Ant. minority, secondary majority [n2] adulthood age of consent,… …   New thesaurus

  • majority — [mə jôr′ə tē, məjär′ə tē] n. pl. majorities [Fr majorité < ML majoritas < L major: see MAJOR] 1. [also with pl. v.] the greater part or larger number; more than half of a total ☆ 2. the number by which the votes cast for the candidate, bill …   English World dictionary

  • Majority — This article is about the mathematical concept of majority. For other uses, see Majority (disambiguation). A majority is a subset of a group consisting of more than half of its members. This can be compared to a plurality, which is a subset… …   Wikipedia

  • majority — ▪ I. majority ma‧jor‧i‧ty 1 [məˈdʒɒrti ǁ məˈdʒɔː , məˈdʒɑː ] noun majorities PLURALFORM 1. [singular] most of the people or things in a particular group: • Some franchisees quit, but the majority are still hanging on. majority of …   Financial and business terms


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