plu·​ral·​i·​ty | \ plu̇-ˈra-lə-tē How to pronounce plurality (audio) \
plural pluralities

Definition of plurality

1a : the state of being plural
b : the state of being numerous
c : a large number or quantity
2 : pluralism sense 1 also : a benefice held by pluralism
3a : a number greater than another
b : an excess of votes over those cast for an opposing candidate
c : a number of votes cast for a candidate in a contest of more than two candidates that is greater than the number cast for any other candidate but not more than half the total votes cast

Examples of plurality in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The race between Holt and Betterton was almost as close in the August municipal election with Betterton winning a plurality by just 20 votes. Paul Gattis |, al, "Alabama voters cast ballots in mayoral runoff races; Bowling makes history in Decatur," 7 Oct. 2020 The poll found that a confirmation vote ahead of the election is opposed by a plurality of voters in most demographic slices. Torey Van Oot Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "Minnesota Poll: Majority want Senate to hold off on Supreme Court nomination," 27 Sep. 2020 It has been rejected by the city’s mayor, a plurality of residents in recent public opinion polls and an increasing number of community groups. Astead W. Herndon,, "Minneapolis City Council pledged they were going to defund the police. They did not.," 26 Sep. 2020 It has been rejected by the city’s mayor, a plurality of residents in recent public opinion polls, and an increasing number of community groups. New York Times, "How a Pledge to Dismantle the Minneapolis Police Collapsed," 26 Sep. 2020 We are heartened by the plurality of voices that have joined the movement. Andrew Cockburn, Harper's Magazine, "Letters," 18 Aug. 2020 The optics of a largely Catholic bench handing down rulings on major social issues to an increasingly secular America where Protestants are still a plurality is not lost on some conservative observers. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Amy Coney Barrett Discourse Is a Trap," 28 Sep. 2020 In North Carolina, voters by a four-point margin preferred a Republican Senate even though a plurality are currently supporting Cal Cunningham, the Democratic nominee, over Senator Thom Tillis. Matt Stevens, New York Times, "Virus Pulls Down Trump, Poll Shows, and G.O.P. Senators Suffer With Him," 18 Sep. 2020 With Chris off on Ghost Island, the crucial implication was that the majority (5, now 4) was splintered into two smaller groups (3 vs. 1), giving us the plurality in votes. Dalton Ross,, "Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire: James Lim almost created a replica 'f---ing stick' on Ghost Island," 15 Sep. 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of plurality

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about plurality

Time Traveler for plurality

Time Traveler

The first known use of plurality was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for plurality

Last Updated

16 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Plurality.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for plurality


How to pronounce plurality (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of plurality

formal : a usually large number of things
chiefly US, technical : a number of votes that is more than the number of votes for any other candidate or party but that is not more than half of the total number of votes
grammar : the state of being plural


plu·​ral·​i·​ty | \ plu̇-ˈra-lə-tē How to pronounce plurality (audio) \
plural pluralities

Legal Definition of plurality

: an amount or group (as of votes) that is greater than any other amount or group within a total but that is not more than half especially : a group of justices on an appeals court who do not form a majority but with whose opinion enough other justices concur to render it the decision of the court — see also plurality opinion at opinion — compare majority

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on plurality

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Namesakes Word Quiz

  • a citrus fruit possibly named after a person
  • Which of the following is a fruit named after a Moroccan seaport?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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