[ pop-yuh-ler ]
See synonyms for popular on Thesaurus.com
  1. regarded with favor, approval, or affection by people in general: a popular preacher.

  2. regarded with favor, approval, or affection by an acquaintance or acquaintances: He's not very popular with me just now.

  1. of, relating to, or representing the people, especially the common people: popular discontent.

  2. of the people as a whole, especially of all citizens of a nation or state qualified to participate in an election: popular suffrage; the popular vote; popular representation.

  3. prevailing among the people generally: a popular superstition.

  4. suited to or intended for the general masses of people: popular music.

  5. adapted to the ordinary intelligence or taste: popular lectures on science.

  6. suited to the means of ordinary people; not expensive: popular prices on all tickets.

Origin of popular

First recorded in 1375–1425; late Middle English populer, from Latin populāris; see people, -ar1

synonym study For popular

5. See general.

word story For popular

Popular comes from the Latin adjective populāris “pertaining to all or most of the people, belonging to or used by the common people (as opposed to the military, the aristocracy, or the senators)”; it is a very loaded word in Roman political history.
Populāris is a derivative of the noun populus “a human community, nation, the members of a society,” and in Rome “the entire people exercising its full legislative and judicial authority” (another weighty word). It is surprising that there is no certain etymology for populus. The most likely of several possible etymologies derives populus from Etruscan puplu (Etruscan, an extinct ancient language, is the “go to” language for Latin etymological problems); puplu appears in the name of the Etruscan town Pupluna ( Populōnia in Latin). For good measure, Rōma, the name of the city, is named after an Etruscan family, as are three of Rome’s seven hills.
The current, most familiar sense of popular , “regarded with favor, approval, or affection by many people,” dates from the very early 17th century.

Other words for popular

Other words from popular

  • an·ti·pop·u·lar, adjective
  • non·pop·u·lar, adjective
  • o·ver·pop·u·lar, adjective
  • pseu·do·pop·u·lar, adjective
  • qua·si-pop·u·lar, adjective
  • sem·i·pop·u·lar, adjective

Words that may be confused with popular

Words Nearby popular

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use popular in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for popular


/ (ˈpɒpjʊlə) /

  1. appealing to the general public; widely favoured or admired

  2. favoured by an individual or limited group: I'm not very popular with her

  1. connected with, representing, or prevailing among the general public; common: popular discontent

  2. appealing to or comprehensible to the layman: a popular lecture on physics

  1. (usually plural) cheap newspapers with mass circulation; the popular press: Also shortened to: pops

Origin of popular

C15: from Latin populāris belonging to the people, democratic, from populus people

Derived forms of popular

  • popularity (ˌpɒpjʊˈlærɪtɪ), noun

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