Simple Definition of suffrage
: the right to vote in an election
Full Definition of suffrage
1 : a short intercessory prayer usually in a series
2 : a vote given in deciding a controverted question or electing a person for an office or trust
3 : the right of voting : franchise; also : the exercise of such right
Examples of suffrage in a sentence
women who fought for suffrage
<even as the world entered the 21st century, some nations still did not permit women's suffrage>
Did You Know?
Why would a 17th-century writer warn people that a chapel was only for "private or secret suffrages"? Because in addition to the meanings listed above, "suffrage" has been used since the 14th century to mean "prayer" (especially a prayer requesting divine help or intercession). So how did "suffrage" come to mean "a vote" or "the right to vote"? To answer that, we must look to the word’s Latin ancestor, suffragium, which can be translated as "vote," "support," or "prayer." That term produced descendants in a number of languages, and English picked up its senses of "suffrage" from two different places. We took the "prayer" sense from a Middle French suffragium offspring that emphasized the word’s spiritual aspects, and we elected to adopt the "voting" senses directly from the original Latin.
Origin of suffrage
in sense 1, from Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin suffragium, from Latin, vote, political support, from suffragari to support with one's vote; in other senses, from Latin suffragium
First Known Use: 14th century
SUFFRAGE Defined for Kids
Definition of suffrage for Students
: the right to vote
Legal Definition of suffrage
1 : a vote in deciding a controverted question or the choice of a person for an office or trust <no State…shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate — U.S. Constitution art. V>
2 : the right of voting : franchise; also : the exercise of such right
Origin of suffrage
Latin suffragium vote, political support, from suffragari to support with one's vote
Seen and Heard
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