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[pop-yuh-luh s] /ˈpɒp yə ləs/
full of residents or inhabitants, as a region; heavily populated.
jammed or crowded with people:
There's no more populous place than Times Square on New Year's Eve.
forming or comprising a large number or quantity:
Because of epidemics the tribes are not nearly so populous as they once were.
Origin of populous
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English populus < Latin populōsus. See people, -ous
Related forms
populously, adverb
populousness, noun
nonpopulous, adjective
nonpopulously, adverb
nonpopulousness, noun
overpopulous, adjective
overpopulously, adverb
overpopulousness, noun
unpopulous, adjective
unpopulously, adverb
unpopulousness, noun
Can be confused
populace, population, populous.
2. swarming, packed, teeming. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for populous
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He found himself an outcast in the midst of the populous camp.

    White Fang Jack London
  • Even the Esmeralda Mountains were no longer roamed by populous herds.

    Louisiana Lou William West Winter
  • The convent was situated in the most populous part of Madrid.

  • Yes, it was a far cry from the African jungles to populous Manhattan.

    The Mind Master Arthur J. Burks
  • From this place he marched two stages—ten parasangs—to Thymbrium, a populous city.

    Anabasis Xenophon
British Dictionary definitions for populous


containing many inhabitants; abundantly populated
Derived Forms
populously, adverb
populousness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Late Latin populōsus
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 populous

early 15c., from post-classical Latin populosus "full of people, populous," from populus "people" (see people (n.)). Related: Populousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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