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 But there are also one out of five Republicans who don’t back Lee, as well as nearly seven out of 10 Democrats, and a plurality of independents. Robert Gehrke, The Salt Lake Tribune, 4 Oct. 2021 Attitudes are mixed on how to address the challenge from China, with a split over whether to increase or reduce U.S. troop deployments in Asia and only a plurality supporting going to war in defense of Taiwan. William Hartung, Forbes, 29 Sep. 2021 In perhaps the most dramatic break with the past, the partisan identification gap among millennial church members is narrow — 41 percent Democratic, 46 percent Republican — and a plurality of members under 40 voted for Biden. Emily Kaplan, Washington Post, 27 Sep. 2021 Tagore, a firm believer in religious plurality, and writer of both the Indian and Bangladeshi national anthems, would be ashamed. Suketu Mehta, Time, 17 Sep. 2021 But that percentage looks better in a recall race where a plurality could elect the replacement candidate if a majority voted to oust Newsom. San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 Sep. 2021 With Elder's ascent, Newsom and the Democrats supporting him could now put a name and a face to the danger of a recall, which requires a majority of votes to oust Newsom but only a plurality to elect a replacement. Lincoln Mitchell, CNN, 11 Sep. 2021 If Newsom falls short — even if 49.9% of the electorate wants to keep him in office — he will be replaced by whichever candidate receives a plurality of votes, however few that may be. Los Angeles Times, 2 Sep. 2021 Critics of the state’s recall rules have long worried that 49 percent of the electorate could vote to keep an incumbent, only for a tiny plurality of voters to choose a replacement. New York Times, 17 Aug. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of plurality

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

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Time Traveler for plurality

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near plurality

pluralistic idealism



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Statistics for plurality

Last Updated

17 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Plurality.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for plurality



English Language Learners Definition of plurality

: a usually large number of things
: 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
: 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


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