- a direct vote of the qualified voters of a state in regard to some important public question.
- the vote by which the people of a political unit determine autonomy or affiliation with another country.
Origin of plebiscite
Examples from the Web for plebiscite
When there's no time for a plebiscite, there's always time for a pistol.'Lord Kilgobbin
Sure enough, there came the émeute of the plebiscite, as he had predicted, but it was suppressed.Memoirs
Charles Godfrey Leland
The formality of a plebiscite was accomplished by November 21.A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year
Is there a single intelligent Liberal who is not against that plebiscite?
Let the emeute be within, say a week, after the vote of the plebiscite is taken.
- a direct vote by the electorate of a state, region, etc, on some question of usually national importance, such as union with another state or acceptance of a government programme
- any expression or determination of public opinion on some matter
Word Origin and History for plebiscite
"direct vote of the people," 1860 (originally in reference to Italian unification), from French plébiscite (1776 in modern sense, originally with reference to Switzerland), from Latin plebiscitum "a decree or resolution of the people," from plebs (genitive plebis) "the common people" (see plebeian (adj.)) + scitum "decree," noun use of neuter past participle of sciscere "to assent, vote for, approve," inchoative of scire "to know" (see science). Used earlier (1530s) in a purely Roman historical context. Related: Plebiscitary.
A vote of an entire nation or other large political unit on an issue of great importance. A plebiscite is not an election, for there are no candidates. Rather, people vote yes or no on a proposition.