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[pop-yuh-luh s]
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  1. the common people of a community, nation, etc., as distinguished from the higher classes.
  2. all the inhabitants of a place; population.
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Origin of populace

1565–75; < French < Italian popolaccio, equivalent to popol(o) people + -accio pejorative suffix
Can be confusedpopulace population populous
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for populace


noun (sometimes functioning as plural)
  1. the inhabitants of an area
  2. the common people; masses
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Word Origin

C16: via French from Italian popolaccio the common herd, from popolo people, from Latin populus
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 populace


1570s, from Middle French populace (16c.), from Italian popolaccio "riffraff, rabble," from popolo "people" (from Latin populus "people;" see people (n.)) + pejorative suffix -accio.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper