1

ballot

play
noun bal·lot \ˈba-lət\

Definition of ballot

  1. 1a :  a small ball used in secret votingb :  a sheet of paper used to cast a secret vote

  2. 2a :  the action or system of secret votingb :  the right to votec :  vote 1a

  3. 3 :  the number of votes cast

  4. 4 :  the drawing of lots

Examples of ballot in a Sentence

  1. They cast their votes in a secret ballot.

  2. She was elected by secret ballot.

Recent Examples of ballot from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ballot'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

When people voted in ancient Athens, they dropped pebbles into an urn. Similarly, when voting was done by the people of Venice during the Renaissance, secrecy was assured by the use of little colored or marked balls. The Italian word for “little ball” is ballotta, from balla, meaning “ball,” and the diminutive suffix –otta. Now any kind of secret voting, by ball, piece of paper, or voting machine, is called a ballot. So is the right to vote itself.

Origin and Etymology of ballot

Italian ballotta, from Italian dialect, diminutive of balla ball — more at balloon


2

ballot

verb bal·lot

Definition of ballot

  1. intransitive verb
  2. :  to vote or decide by ballot

balloter

noun

Recent Examples of ballot from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ballot'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ballot

1603



BALLOT Defined for English Language Learners

ballot

play
noun

Definition of ballot for English Language Learners

  • : a ticket or piece of paper used to vote in an election

  • : a process that allows people to vote in secret so that other people cannot see their votes

  • : the total number of votes in an election

ballot

verb

Definition of ballot for English Language Learners

  • : to ask (people) to decide something by voting


BALLOT Defined for Kids

ballot

play
noun bal·lot \ˈba-lət\

Definition of ballot for Students

  1. 1 :  a printed sheet of paper used in voting

  2. 2 :  the action or a system of voting

  3. 3 :  the right to vote

  4. 4 :  the number of votes cast

History for ballot

Long ago, the Italian city of Venice was a republic. The people of Venice had secret voting. They used balls with different colors or marks to vote. The Italian word for a ball used to vote, ballotta, meant literally “little ball.” The English word ballot came from this Italian word. Anything used to cast a secret vote, such as a piece of paper, can be called a ballot.



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up ballot? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

set in a bent position

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Emoji Quiz

  • emoji-the-quiz
  • What phase of the moon is this: 🌖 ?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!