populace

noun

pop·​u·​lace ˈpä-pyə-ləs How to pronounce populace (audio)
1
: the common people : masses
2

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 This declaration reasserted the populace’s duty to pay the pharaoh and his kingdom, as everything in the state was understood to belong to the pharaoh. Kate McMahon, Smithsonian Magazine, 3 Apr. 2024 The court consumed the wealth of France, starving its populace (who, of course, eventually rebelled) and, along the way, smothering its queen, who, in her way, also rebelled, albeit behind the walls of power. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 19 Mar. 2024 Frequent civilian protests reveal a populace deeply unhappy with the country’s leadership. Aj Willingham, CNN, 5 Mar. 2024 The new effort to toughen up the law — even if that increases the state’s prison populace a bit — now includes San Francisco and San Jose Mayors London Breed and Matt Mahan. Thomas Elias, The Mercury News, 5 Mar. 2024 With nearly 11 million people already displaced—three million of them children—the country is now home to the most people rendered homeless by conflict worldwide, and its populace sits poised on the brink of a major famine. John Prendergast, Foreign Affairs, 27 Feb. 2024 But time has been good to the action-comedy, perhaps because its gleefully cynical portrait of nationalism and a war-hungry populace would resonate that much more in the years following 9/11 and the Iraq War. Randall Colburn, EW.com, 9 Nov. 2023 Asian Americans make up 3% of people in Wisconsin, but the populace has grown by 82% since 2000. Sakshi Venkatraman, NBC News, 4 Apr. 2024 Instead of dividing the people against the resistance, the junta’s extreme violence has only made much of Myanmar’s populace more determined to oust the military from power, according to analysts and people who spoke to CNN in the country. Helen Regan, CNN, 28 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'populace.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1572, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of populace was in 1572

Dictionary Entries Near populace

Cite this Entry

“Populace.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/populace. Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

populace

noun
pop·​u·​lace ˈpäp-yə-ləs How to pronounce populace (audio)
1
: the common people : masses
2

More from Merriam-Webster on populace

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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