pop·u·lace | \ˈpä-pyə-ləs \

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

Half the populace blames demonstrations by the Black Defense Alliance for stirring up hatred for local law enforcement after a traffic-stop fatality. Marilyn Stasio, New York Times, "Hate Thy Neighbor. Or Maybe Just Kill Him.," 6 July 2018 Conservatives made the gargantuan mistake of seeing Hitler as a useful tool for rousing the populace. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, "How American Racism Influenced Hitler," 23 Apr. 2018 Today, conflict in Yemen is a profound menace to the country’s populace and to others beyond its borders. Alan Sipress, Washington Post, "Five reasons the crisis in Yemen matters," 8 June 2018 Yet if harbingers of gentrification are trendy restaurants and coffee shops, then Divisadero is in the throes of conforming to a new populace with disposable income. Justin Phillips, San Francisco Chronicle, "Divisadero has become SF’s most prolific new restaurant neighborhood," 8 June 2018 As one segment of a disillusioned populace turned to violence, another retreated from politics altogether. New York Times, "How Robert Kennedy’s Assassination Changed American Politics," 1 June 2018 The impact of political speech on a populace is worthy of additional study, the authors said. Rita Giordano, Philly.com, "Cities hosting Trump campaign rallies saw uptick in assaults, study finds," 16 Mar. 2018 The 12 Tribes sect helped spread Rastafari’s Afrocentric tenets into the wider populace (Bob Marley was a 12 Tribe member). Patricia Meschino, Billboard, "As Reggae Celebrates 50 Years, Some of the Genre's Pioneers Look Back on Its Worldwide Ascent," 1 July 2018 The game would finish 3-2, and thus mark the start of the so-called '52 years of hurt' for the English populace. SI.com, "On This Day: 14th June - England Succumb to West Germany in Classic Quarter Final," 14 June 2018

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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Statistics for populace

Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for populace

The first known use of populace was in 1572

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More Definitions for populace



English Language Learners Definition of populace

: the people who live in a country or area


pop·u·lace | \ˈpä-pyə-ləs \

Kids Definition of populace

1 : the common people

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on populace

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for populace

Spanish Central: Translation of populace

Nglish: Translation of populace for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of populace for Arabic Speakers

Comments on populace

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


evasion of direct action or statement

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