Definition of plurality
- the holding by one person of two or more benefices at the same time; pluralism.
- any of the benefices so held.
Origin of plurality
synonym study for plurality
OTHER WORDS FROM pluralitynon·plu·ral·i·ty, noun, plural non·plu·ral·i·ties.
Words nearby plurality
PLURALITY VS. MAJORITY
What’s the difference between a plurality and a majority?
Generally speaking, word plurality refers to an amount that’s the largest of all the amounts that make up a total (even if it’s less than half), while the word majority refers to an amount that’s larger than half of a total.
In casual use, the two words are sometimes used interchangeably to mean more than half of a total.
They are also sometimes used interchangeably in an election with only two candidates (though majority is much more commonly used in the context). That’s because, in an election with only two ways to vote, getting more votes necessarily means getting more than half of the votes. For example, in such an election, a candidate can be said to have won by a two-thirds majority or a two-thirds plurality (meaning they have received two-thirds of all the votes cast, with the losing candidate receiving one-third).
The terms are used in differing ways in elections with three or more candidates. In such an election, the word plurality often refers to the highest number of votes received when no candidate has received more than 50% of the vote.
In this context, to win a plurality of votes, you just have to get the largest percentage of all vote-getters, which may not be as high as 50%. For example, a candidate in a three-way race may win the plurality by getting 40% of votes, with the runner-up getting 35% of votes and the last-place finisher getting 25% of votes. To win a majority of votes, a candidate would have to get more than 50%.
Sometimes, plurality refers to how many more votes the winner has than the runner-up, and majority refers to the number of votes by which a candidate has exceeded the amount that would be 50%.
If three candidates were to receive 600, 300, and 100 votes, the winner would have a 100-vote majority (due to having 100 votes more than 500, which is half of the total of 1,000 votes cast) and a plurality of 300 votes over the nearest opponent.
Some types of elections require a candidate to receive the majority of the votes to win the election, while others just require a plurality.
Here’s an example of plurality and majority used correctly in the same sentence.
Example: Although no candidate received the majority of the vote, Ms. Molineaux got the plurality with 40%.
Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between plurality and majority.
Quiz yourself on plurality vs. majority!
Should plurality or majority be used in the following sentence?
At 65% of all purchases, sneakers make up the _____ of the company’s sales.
How to use plurality in a sentence
At the presidential level, the winner of the plurality of the vote gets the state’s 16 electoral votes.Democrats Don’t Need To Win Georgia, Iowa, Ohio Or Texas — But They Could|Perry Bacon Jr. (firstname.lastname@example.org)|October 16, 2020|FiveThirtyEight
In a Fox News survey from late November, the plurality of people, 47 percent, thought that not all the votes in Florida had been counted.A Contested 2020 Election Would Be Way Worse Than Bush v. Gore|Clare Malone (email@example.com)|October 9, 2020|FiveThirtyEight
Such reviews can take many months to complete and open up the possibility of the regulator blocking the deal, which it can do if believes the purchase would in any way undermine national security, financial stability or plurality in media ownership.Why Nvidia’s purchase of Arm worries the U.K. tech sector|Jeremy Kahn|September 14, 2020|Fortune
It’s not uncommon for a candidate to win with a plurality of only 20 percent or 30 percent of the vote.Morning Report: New Ethics Concerns for City Council Candidate|Voice of San Diego|September 3, 2020|Voice of San Diego
That means the next mayor could be someone who seizes a relatively small percentage of the vote, so long as it’s a plurality.North County Report: Next Oceanside Mayor May Not Have Much Support|Kayla Jimenez|September 2, 2020|Voice of San Diego
He won then with less than 38 percent of the vote, the smallest plurality of any winning gubernatorial candidate in the country.Republican Wave Carries Maine Governor Paul LePage to Victory|Ben Jacobs|November 5, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Even on the eve of its passage, at least a plurality said they opposed the law.After Four Years and Millions of Sign-Ups, Obamacare Is Still Unpopular|Kristen Soltis Anderson|April 2, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The misuse of conscience exemptions is threatening our hard-won plurality.How ‘Religious Freedom’ Is Hurting Everyone’s Freedom|Robert Shrum|March 5, 2014|DAILY BEAST
A large plurality of American voters, and 46 percent of the people who voted in 2012, are between the ages of 18 and 44.Monica Who-insky? Why Clinton Attacks Won't Work this Time|Jamelle Bouie|February 10, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The NY Governor has set off a right-wing firestorm, standing accused of seeking to stifle free speech and political plurality.Governor Cuomo: ‘Extreme Conservatives Have No Place In New York’|David Freedlander|January 22, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Each society of monks elected its superior; for, in the early ages of the church, everything was done by the plurality of voices.
He permitted a plurality of wives, conforming in this point to the immemorial usage of the orientals.
The unity of darkness contains a multiple, a mysterious plurality—visible in matter, realised in thought.Toilers of the Sea|Victor Hugo
The Jews were encouraged to indulge in a plurality of wives; but they were nowhere directed or recommended to live on alms.Ancient Faiths And Modern|Thomas Inman
We therefore assert the existence of several genera, and that this plurality is not accidental.Plotinos: Complete Works, v. 3|Plotinos (Plotinus)