plu·​ral·​i·​ty | \plu̇-ˈra-lə-tē \
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

According to Ballotpedia’s tracker, every public poll has found that a plurality or majority of voters support the initiative. German Lopez, Vox, "The midterm elections will give some voters a chance to legalize marijuana," 6 Nov. 2018 Half of likely voters (50%) have a favorable view of Kaine (33% unfavorable), while a plurality (43%) still does not know enough about Stewart to have an opinion. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Report: Trump tabloid pal cut deal with feds," 24 Aug. 2018 India’s founding nationalism was predominantly defined by secularism, linguistic plurality and nonviolent self-determination. Maya Tudor, Washington Post, "How nationalism can actually help democracies," 25 Apr. 2018 Add to that the fact that the Maine’s Constitution currently requires that a winner only have a plurality, and the legal challenges could be significant. James Pindell,, "In Maine, a voting experiment could have real consequences for partisan politics," 6 Apr. 2018 The plurality, 36 percent, said they’d been tested between once and five times. Eddie Pells, The Seattle Times, "Survey: Athletes feel pressure of win-at-all-costs culture," 7 Aug. 2018 Even a plurality of Republicans opposed the rules — 48 percent, compared with 46 percent who expressed support. Julie Rovner, Washington Post, "Trump’s Next High Court Pick Likely To Target Abortion. Is That What The Public Wants?," 29 June 2018 Wisconsin’s public-employee unions tried to make the election a referendum on Mr. Walker’s Act 10 collective-bargaining reforms, but a CNN News exit poll showed a 10-point plurality of voters supported the 2011 law. Allysia Finley, WSJ, "A Big Night for Democrats, but Not Progressives," 7 Nov. 2018 Of those who voted for a radical right party, about 43 percent — a plurality — place themselves in the center. Matthijs Rooduijn, Washington Post, "It’s radicals, not centrists, who are really more hostile to democracy," 12 June 2018

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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Last Updated

14 Dec 2018

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

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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

grammar : the state of being plural


plu·​ral·​i·​ty | \plu̇-ˈra-lə-tē \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on plurality

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with plurality

Spanish Central: Translation of plurality

Nglish: Translation of plurality for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of plurality for Arabic Speakers

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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