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referendum

[ ref-uh-ren-duhm ]
/ ˌrɛf əˈrɛn dəm /
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noun, plural ref·er·en·dums, ref·er·en·da [ref-uh-ren-duh]. /ˌrɛf əˈrɛn də/.

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.

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Origin of referendum

1840–50; <Latin: “(thing) to be referred” (neuter gerundive of referre “to bring back”; see refer)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for referendum

British Dictionary definitions for referendum

referendum
/ (ˌrɛfəˈrɛndəm) /

noun plural -dums or -da (-də)

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

Word Origin for referendum

C19: from Latin: something to be carried back, from referre to refer
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)

referendum
[ (ref-uh-ren-duhm) ]

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.”)

Cultural definitions for referendum (2 of 2)

referendum
[ (ref-uh-ren-duhm) ]

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.

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.
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