[ pop-yuh-ley-shuhn ]
See synonyms for: populationpopulations on Thesaurus.com

  1. the total number of people inhabiting a country, city, or any district or area.

  2. the body of inhabitants of a place: The population of the city opposes the addition of fluorides to the drinking water.

  1. the number or body of inhabitants in a place belonging to a specific social, cultural, socioeconomic, ethnic, or racial subgroup: the Native populationthe working-class population.

  2. Statistics. any finite or infinite aggregation of individuals, not necessarily animate, subject to a statistical study.

  3. Ecology.

    • the assemblage of a specific type of organism living in a given area.

    • all the individuals of one species in a given area.

  4. the act or process of populating: Population of the interior was hampered by dense jungles.

Origin of population

First recorded in 1570–80, population is from the Late Latin word populātiōn- (stem of populātiō). See populate, -ion

Other words from population

  • pop·u·la·tion·al, adjective
  • pop·u·la·tion·less, adjective
  • re·pop·u·la·tion, noun
  • sub·pop·u·la·tion, noun
  • su·per·pop·u·la·tion, noun

Words that may be confused with population

Words Nearby population

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

How to use population in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for population


/ (ˌpɒpjʊˈleɪʃən) /

  1. (sometimes functioning as plural) all the persons inhabiting a country, city, or other specified place

  2. the number of such inhabitants

  1. (sometimes functioning as plural) all the people of a particular race or class in a specific area: the Chinese population of San Francisco

  2. the act or process of providing a place with inhabitants; colonization

  3. ecology a group of individuals of the same species inhabiting a given area

  4. astronomy either of two main groups of stars classified according to age and location. Population I consists of younger metal-rich hot white stars, many occurring in galactic clusters and forming the arms of spiral galaxies. Stars of population II are older, the brightest being red giants, and are found in the centre of spiral and elliptical galaxies in globular clusters

  5. Also called: universe statistics the entire finite or infinite aggregate of individuals or items from which samples are drawn

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

Scientific definitions for population


[ pŏp′yə-lāshən ]

  1. A group of individuals of the same species occupying a particular geographic area. Populations may be relatively small and closed, as on an island or in a valley, or they may be more diffuse and without a clear boundary between them and a neighboring population of the same species. For species that reproduce sexually, the members of a population interbreed either exclusively with members of their own population or, where populations intergrade, to a greater degree than with members of other populations. See also deme.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.