the principle or practice of referring measures proposed or passed by a legislative body, head of state, etc., to the vote of the electorate for approval or rejection.: Compare initiative (def. 4a).
a measure thus referred.
a vote on such a measure.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use referendum in a sentence
(Referenda tend to be expensive, rife with misinformation, and favorable to extreme positions).Is It Time to Take a Chance on Random Representatives? | Michael Schulson | November 8, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Next, elections for an open presidential seat are referenda on the incumbent.Memo to the 2016 GOP: Winning Your Home State Matters | Lloyd Green | May 5, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Now it is legal in nine states, the last three of which adopted new laws in popular referenda last month.In Between Mass Shootings, the Media Have Been MIA on Guns | Howard Kurtz | December 17, 2012 | THE DAILY BEAST
Alternatively, share existing debt obligations as a means of addressing the economic repercussions of the referenda results.Open Memorandum: Elements of a Possible Peace Deal in Sudan | George Clooney, John Prendergast | November 6, 2010 | THE DAILY BEAST
Amendments are ratified by legislatures (or state conventions), not by referenda.
Its principles were republican, but it inaugurated no formal institutions and resorted to no elections, referenda, or plebiscites.Government in Republican China | Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger
Velle et esse ad hominem referenda sunt, quia de arbitrii fonte descendunt.History of the Reformation in the Sixteenth Century (Volume 1) | J. H. Merle D'Aubign
The council is also empowered to schedule dates for holding referenda on decisions of the National Assembly.Area Handbook for Bulgaria | Eugene K. Keefe, Violeta D. Baluyut, William Giloane, Anne K. Long, James M. Moore, and Neda A. Walpole
British Dictionary definitions for referendum
submission of an issue of public importance to the direct vote of the electorate
a vote on such a measure
a poll of the members of a club, union, or other group to determine their views on some matter
a diplomatic official's note to his government requesting instructions
- See also (for senses 1, 2) plebiscite
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
Cultural definitions for referendum (1 of 2)
A direct popular vote on an issue of public policy, such as a proposed amendment to a state constitution or a proposed law. Referendums, which allow the general population to participate in policymaking, are not used at the national level, but are common at the state and local levels. A referendum is often used to gauge popular approval or rejection of laws recently passed or under consideration by a state legislature. A referendum can also be used to initiate legislative action.
A vote by the general public, rather than by governmental bodies, on a bill or some other important issue; a plebiscite. (See under “American Politics.”)
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.