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

Yes, studies came out that showed that people were generally against Nike standing by him, but the brand actually gained popularity in the black populace. Georgia Frances King, Quartz, "The secret to making people care about climate change is surprisingly simple," 15 Aug. 2019 The government for the city of 21,000 is now more reflective of its populace, which is two-thirds black. Washington Post, "Ferguson: 5 years later, racial tension lingers nationally," 8 Aug. 2019 An f-bomb dropped from a dais suggests the toppling of the barriers that once separated the politician from the populace—the private leader from the public one. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "The Currency of Profanity," 9 Aug. 2019 Both centers of power mobilize the national tech industries to solidify state power, sow ethnic division and oppression, and have ensured that the 1% enjoy maximum privacy protections while the populace enjoys none. David Carroll, Quartz, "China embraces its surveillance state. The US pretends it doesn’t have one," 23 July 2019 Islam, the dominant religion of a part of the world battling insecurity and held back by underdevelopment, is interwoven into the cultures of a diverse populace. Fakhrriyyah Hashim, Quartz Africa, "How Nigeria’s conservative northern region came to terms with its MeToo movement," 22 July 2019 As part of ongoing reforms, the IOC is allowing host cities to add a few sports that connect with the local populace. David Wharton, latimes.com, "Breakdancing receives provisional approval for Summer Olympics," 25 June 2019 In his interview with CBS News, Parscale insisted current methodology is unable to accurately capture the sentiment and likely voting habits of the American populace. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, "Trump campaign raises $24.8 million in one day for reelection campaign launch," 19 June 2019 Toronto, with a population of about 2.9 million, and Mississauga, its populace expanding toward 800,000, compete to be declared the one true hoops honey pot. Michael Powell, New York Times, "Canada Becomes a Basketball Factory," 8 June 2019

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

27 Aug 2019

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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

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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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

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concealment of treason or felony

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