Origin of popular

1375–1425; late Middle English populer < Latin populāris. See people, -ar1
Related formsan·ti·pop·u·lar, adjectivenon·pop·u·lar, adjectiveo·ver·pop·u·lar, adjectivepseu·do·pop·u·lar, adjectivequa·si-pop·u·lar, adjectivesem·i·pop·u·lar, adjectivesub·pop·u·lar, adjective
Can be confusedpoplar popular

Synonyms for popular

1. favorite, approved, liked. 5. common, current.

Synonym study

5. See general.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for popular

Contemporary Examples of popular

Historical Examples of popular

  • He acquired a general knowledge of the ebb and flow of popular stocks.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • I wouldn't attempt to be, I am not clever or popular enough.

  • There is one stream which I dread my inability to stem—it is the tide of Popular Opinion.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • The former is engaged in commerce and the latter is the popular member for Leeds.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • It is said that Mr. Gladstone, now for the first time, became a popular hero.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

British Dictionary definitions for popular



appealing to the general public; widely favoured or admired
favoured by an individual or limited groupI'm not very popular with her
connected with, representing, or prevailing among the general public; commonpopular discontent
appealing to or comprehensible to the laymana popular lecture on physics


(usually plural) cheap newspapers with mass circulation; the popular pressAlso shortened to: pops
Derived Formspopularity (ˌpɒpjʊˈlærɪtɪ), noun

Word Origin for popular

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

early 15c., "public," from Middle French populier (Modern French populaire) and directly from Latin popularis "belonging to the people, general, common; devoted to or accepted by the people; democratic," from populus "people" (see people (n.)).

Meaning "suited to ordinary people" is from 1570s in English; hence, of prices, "low, affordable to average persons" (1859). Meaning "well-liked, admired by the people" is attested from c.1600. Of art, entertainment, etc., "favored by people generally" from 1819 (popular song). Related: Popularly. Popular Front "coalition of Communists, Socialists, and radicals" is from 1936, first in a French context.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper