[ dih-mok-ruh-see ]
See synonyms for democracy on
noun,plural de·moc·ra·cies.
  1. government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

  2. a state having such a form of government: The United States and Canada are democracies.

  1. a state of society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges.

  2. political or social equality; democratic spirit.

  3. the common people of a community as distinguished from any privileged class; the common people with respect to their political power.

Origin of democracy

First recorded in 1525–35; from Middle French démocratie, from Late Latin dēmocratia, from Greek dēmokratía “popular government,” equivalent to dēmo- demo- + -kratia -cracy

Other words from democracy

  • an·ti·de·moc·ra·cy, noun, plural an·ti·de·moc·ra·cies, adjective
  • non·de·moc·ra·cy, noun, plural non·de·moc·ra·cies.
  • pre·de·moc·ra·cy, noun, plural pre·de·moc·ra·cies.
  • pro·de·moc·ra·cy, adjective

Words Nearby democracy Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use democracy in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for democracy


/ (dɪˈmɒkrəsɪ) /

nounplural -cies
  1. government by the people or their elected representatives

  2. a political or social unit governed ultimately by all its members

  1. the practice or spirit of social equality

  2. a social condition of classlessness and equality

  3. the common people, esp as a political force

Origin of democracy

C16: from French démocratie, from Late Latin dēmocratia, from Greek dēmokratia government by the people; see demo-, -cracy

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

Cultural definitions for democracy


A system of government in which power is vested in the people, who rule either directly or through freely elected representatives.

Notes for democracy

Democratic institutions, such as parliaments, may exist in a monarchy. Such constitutional monarchies as Britain, Canada, and Sweden are generally counted as democracies in practice.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.