[ ri-puhb-lik ]
See synonyms for republic on
  1. a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.

  2. any body of persons viewed as a commonwealth.

  1. a state in which the head of government is not a monarch or other hereditary head of state.

  2. (initial capital letter) any of the five periods of republican government in France.: Compare First Republic, Second Republic, Third Republic, Fourth Republic, Fifth Republic.

  3. (initial capital letter, italics) a philosophical dialogue (4th century b.c.) by Plato dealing with the composition and structure of the ideal state.

Origin of republic

First recorded in 1595–1605; from French république, Middle French, from Latin rēs pūblica, equivalent to rēs “thing, entity” (cf. rebus ) + pūblica public

Other words from republic

  • sem·i·re·pub·lic, noun

Words Nearby republic Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use republic in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for republic


/ (rɪˈpʌblɪk) /

  1. a form of government in which the people or their elected representatives possess the supreme power

  2. a political or national unit possessing such a form of government

  1. a constitutional form in which the head of state is an elected or nominated president

  2. any community or group that resembles a political republic in that its members or elements exhibit a general equality, shared interests, etc: the republic of letters

Origin of republic

C17: from French république, from Latin rēspublica literally: the public thing, from rēs thing + publica public

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 republic


A form of government in which power is explicitly vested in the people, who in turn exercise their power through elected representatives. Today, the terms republic and democracy are virtually interchangeable, but historically the two differed. Democracy implied direct rule by the people, all of whom were equal, whereas republic implied a system of government in which the will of the people was mediated by representatives, who might be wiser and better educated than the average person. In the early American republic, for example, the requirement that voters own property and the establishment of institutions such as the Electoral College were intended to cushion the government from the direct expression of the popular will.

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.