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[pop-yuh-ler] /ˈpɒp yə lər/
regarded with favor, approval, or affection by people in general:
a popular preacher.
regarded with favor, approval, or affection by an acquaintance or acquaintances:
He's not very popular with me just now.
of, relating to, or representing the people, especially the common people:
popular discontent.
of the people as a whole, especially of all citizens of a nation or state qualified to participate in an election:
popular suffrage; the popular vote; popular representation.
prevailing among the people generally:
a popular superstition.
suited to or intended for the general masses of people:
popular music.
adapted to the ordinary intelligence or taste:
popular lectures on science.
suited to the means of ordinary people; not expensive:
popular prices on all tickets.
Origin of popular
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English populer < Latin populāris. See people, -ar1
Related forms
antipopular, adjective
nonpopular, adjective
overpopular, adjective
pseudopopular, adjective
quasi-popular, adjective
semipopular, adjective
subpopular, adjective
Can be confused
poplar, popular.
1. favorite, approved, liked. 5. common, current.
Synonym Study
5. See general. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for popular
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He acquired a general knowledge of the ebb and flow of popular stocks.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • There is one stream which I dread my inability to stem—it is the tide of popular Opinion.

    The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook
  • The former is engaged in commerce and the latter is the popular member for Leeds.

    The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook
  • I wouldn't attempt to be, I am not clever or popular enough.

  • It is said that Mr. Gladstone, now for the first time, became a popular hero.

    The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook
British Dictionary definitions for popular


appealing to the general public; widely favoured or admired
favoured by an individual or limited group: I'm not very popular with her
connected with, representing, or prevailing among the general public; common: popular discontent
appealing to or comprehensible to the layman: a popular lecture on physics
(usually pl) cheap newspapers with mass circulation; the popular press Also shortened to pops
Derived Forms
popularity (ˌpɒpjʊˈlærɪtɪ) noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin populāris belonging to the people, democratic, from populus people
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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Word Origin and History for popular

early 15c., "public," from Middle French populier (Modern French populaire) and directly from Latin popularis "belonging to the people, general, common; devoted to or accepted by the people; democratic," from populus "people" (see people (n.)).

Meaning "suited to ordinary people" is from 1570s in English; hence, of prices, "low, affordable to average persons" (1859). Meaning "well-liked, admired by the people" is attested from c.1600. Of art, entertainment, etc., "favored by people generally" from 1819 (popular song). Related: Popularly. Popular Front "coalition of Communists, Socialists, and radicals" is from 1936, first in a French context.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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