Dictionary.com

referendum

[ ref-uh-ren-duhm ]
/ ˌrɛf əˈrɛn dəm /
Save This Word!

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.

QUIZZES

QUIZ YOURSELF ON "WAS" VS. "WERE"!

Were you ready for a quiz on this topic? Well, here it is! See how well you can differentiate between the uses of "was" vs. "were" in this quiz.
Question 1 of 7
“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

Meet Grammar Coach

Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing

Meet Grammar Coach

Improve Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help

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.
FEEDBACK