plurality

[ploo-ral-i-tee]
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noun, plural plu·ral·i·ties.
  1. the excess of votes received by the leading candidate, in an election in which there are three or more candidates, over those received by the next candidate (distinguished from majority).
  2. more than half of the whole; the majority.
  3. a number greater than one.
  4. fact of being numerous.
  5. a large number; multitude.
  6. state or fact of being plural.
  7. Ecclesiastical.
    1. the holding by one person of two or more benefices at the same time; pluralism.
    2. any of the benefices so held.

Origin of plurality

1325–75; Middle English pluralite < Old French < Late Latin plūrālitās. See plural, -ity
Related formsnon·plu·ral·i·ty, noun, plural non·plu·ral·i·ties.
Can be confusedmajority plurality (see synonym study at majority)

Synonyms for plurality

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1. See majority.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for plurality

Contemporary Examples of plurality

Historical Examples of plurality

  • That they had any distinct notions of a plurality of husbands or wives, I do not believe.

  • They have thought that the elements of plurality and unity have not been duly adjusted.

  • Most of these patents also disclose a plurality of elements or acts.

    The Classification of Patents

    United States Patent Office

  • Art establishes itself on a plurality of levels of interaction.

  • That a plurality of worlds does not contradict any principle of reason or faith.

    Moon Lore

    Timothy Harley


British Dictionary definitions for plurality

plurality

noun plural -ties
  1. the state of being plural or numerous
  2. maths a number greater than one
  3. US and Canadian the excess of votes or seats won by the winner of an election over the runner-up when no candidate or party has more than 50 per centBritish equivalent: relative majority
  4. a large number
  5. the greater number; majority
  6. another word for pluralism (def. 1)
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

Word Origin and History for plurality
n.

late 14c., "state of being plural," from Old French pluralite (14c.), from Late Latin pluralitatem (nominative pluralitas), from Latin pluralis (see plural). Meaning "fact of there being many, multitude" is from mid-15c. Church sense of "holding of two or more offices concurrently" is from mid-14c. Meaning "greater number, more than half" is from 1570s but is etymologically improper, perhaps modeled on majority. U.S. sense of "excess of votes over rival candidate(s)," especially when none has an absolute majority, is from 1828.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper