pop·​u·​lace | \ ˈpä-pyə-ləs How to pronounce populace (audio) \

Definition of populace

1 : the common people : masses

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Did You Know?

Populace is usually used to refer to all the people of a country. Thus, we're often told that an educated and informed populace is essential for a healthy American democracy. Franklin D. Roosevelt's famous radio "Fireside Chats" informed and reassured the American populace in the 1930s as we struggled through the Great Depression. We often hear about what "the general populace" is thinking or doing, but generalizing about something so huge can be tricky.

Examples of populace in a Sentence

The populace has suffered greatly. high officials awkwardly mingling with the general populace
Recent Examples on the Web If 2016 taught us anything, there are way too many variables — the shifting mood of the populace, quirks in our electoral system, and the unreliability of polls — to predict comfortably who will win. Jamie Mcintyre, Washington Examiner, "Eight things that will change at the Pentagon if Biden is elected and three that won’t," 6 Aug. 2020 The precariousness of this decision making (coupled with a general populace that struggles to even wear face masks regularly) means musical artists are left to fend for themselves. Britt Julious, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago musicians are leaving the U.S. to find places to perform and make a living," 6 Aug. 2020 Payton, the Jackson State University professor, warned that because many in the state are underprivileged, a significant portion of Mississippi's populace may be vulnerable to the worst of Covid-19. Jason Hanna, CNN, "Mississippi's governor just mandated masks in public gatherings and school. The state is top 5 for coronavirus cases per capita," 5 Aug. 2020 And while Latinos make up more than a third of the populace in those counties, only three are judges, all of them on the felony bench. Elise Schmelzer, The Denver Post, "Denver Post review finds ranks of Colorado judges, prosecutors overwhelmingly white," 19 July 2020 That the arrogant Fleischman doesn’t take to the place – even as the town populace (or most of it) takes to him – is the stuff of which TV shows are made. Gary Levin, USA TODAY, "'Northern Exposure' at 30: How the quirky summer CBS drama changed TV," 11 July 2020 And, since so much of the populace was wearing them, whole towns and communities sprang up around the glove trade, at first in Italy and Spain and later in England and the Americas. Jennifer Barger, National Geographic, "Gloves, running the ‘gauntlet’ of history," 7 July 2020 The virus had also spread to some members of the general populace. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "As COVID-19 spreads, researchers track an influenza virus nervously," 5 July 2020 While politicians and the general populace disagree on mask use, there's less of a schism among scientists and health officials. Amber Hunt, The Enquirer, "Masks, somehow, have become a point of contention for some," 27 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'populace.' 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 populace

1572, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for populace

Middle French, from Italian popolaccio rabble, augmentative of popolo the people, from Latin populus

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Time Traveler for populace

Time Traveler

The first known use of populace was in 1572

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Statistics for populace

Last Updated

10 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Populace.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/populace. Accessed 12 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for populace


How to pronounce populace (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of populace

formal : the people who live in a country or area


pop·​u·​lace | \ ˈpä-pyə-ləs How to pronounce populace (audio) \

Kids Definition of populace

1 : the common people
2 : the people who live in a country or area : population

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