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electoral college

noun, (often initial capital letters)
a body of electors chosen by the voters in each state to elect the president and vice president of the U.S.
Origin of electoral college
An Americanism dating back to 1790-1800 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for electoral college
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The electoral college in the constitution of the United States is an example.


    William Graham Sumner
  • He was a member of the electoral college in 1860 and in 1864.

    John Greenleaf Whittier W. Sloane Kennedy
  • How many votes is your state entitled to in the electoral college?

    Government in the United States

    James Wilford Garner
  • At this first triennial meeting it becomes an electoral college.

    Ireland In The New Century Horace Plunkett
  • However, the disposition of Lincoln's vote gave him the electoral college.

    Lincoln Nathaniel Wright Stephenson
British Dictionary definitions for electoral college

electoral college

(often capitals) (US) a body of electors chosen by the voters who formally elect the president and vice president
any body of electors with similar functions
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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electoral college in Culture
Electoral College [(i-lek-tuhr-uhl)]

The presidential electors who meet after the citizens vote for president and cast ballots for the president and vice president. Each state is granted the same number of electors as it has senators (see United States Senate) and representatives combined. These electors, rather than the public, actually elect the president and the vice president. The Founding Fathers assumed that electors would exercise discretion and not necessarily be bound by the popular vote, but the rise of political parties undermined this assumption. Electors are now pledged in advance to vote for the candidate of their party, and nearly always do so. Thus, the vote of the Electoral College is largely a formality.

Note: There have been several attempts to abolish the Electoral College. In the 2000 presidential election, the candidate with the plurality of popular votes lost the electoral vote, a situation that also occurred in the 1876 and 1888 elections.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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