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

Definition of populace

1 : the common people : masses

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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 Mundell preferred wisdom to well up from the public, intellectuals stepping in to ratify such wisdom and work up the system that the democratic populace desires to function in practice. Brian Domitrovic, Forbes, 12 Apr. 2021 The Chinese government still wishes to constrain segments of the populace—most of all, minorities. Michael Schuman, The Atlantic, 1 July 2021 Those words sting for a populace aching to dust off its suitcases and flee from the cold and omnipresent February snow. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 10 Feb. 2021 But Scott Gottlieb, the former FDA chief, applauded it as a fat slice of liberty for the populace. Washington Post, 18 Dec. 2020 For a female populace with an enemy to face, lipstick was, in its own way, a weapon. April Long, Town & Country, 4 Dec. 2020 But beyond the medium, there has been heightened focus on the methods by which pollsters are accounting for the populace whose opinions they are meant to be gauging. Rey Mashayekhi, Fortune, 17 Nov. 2020 Long commutes are associated with unhappiness, so more days spent working at home will make for an emotionally healthier populace. Arkansas Online, 1 Nov. 2020 For the region’s populace, the war is a continuation of on-off violent strife over both territory and history, with roots going back more than a century. Anton Troianovski, New York Times, 18 Oct. 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

18 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Populace.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/populace. Accessed 25 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for populace



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

More from Merriam-Webster on populace

Nglish: Translation of populace for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of populace for Arabic Speakers


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