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 Evacuation routes backed up, though only a fraction of the populace has returned to town since the Camp Fire. Lizzie Johnson, SFChronicle.com, "‘Feeling panic’: Paradise residents traumatized by the Camp Fire flee new wildfire threat," 9 Sep. 2020 In the first months of the pandemic, South Korea’s test and trace methods were widely praised as exemplary, demonstrating how the technique can reduce transmission by isolating the infected and other potential carriers from the general populace. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "Hong Kong’s citywide COVID-19 testing has become a barometer of public trust," 9 Sep. 2020 And broad surveillance can engender a chilling effect among the whole populace, making people less willing to express their political views online. Zeynep Tufekci, The Atlantic, "The Pandemic Is No Excuse to Surveil Students," 4 Sep. 2020 What states have produced the least educated populace? Editorial Board Baltimore Sun (tns), Star Tribune, "If 'Democrat-run' cities are a problem, what about GOP-run states?," 1 Sep. 2020 Audacious, Macron’s triumphant tour was surprisingly well-received by the local populace. Mathis Bitton, National Review, "Macron: Loved Abroad, Loathed at Home," 12 Aug. 2020 Expanding in many areas on ancient foot trails, the arteries were first constructed to secure Tokugawa’s power, allowing easy transit for officials and a way to monitor the populace. Hiroshi Okamoto, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Way of the Shogun," 9 July 2020 Nguyen was responding to a question about what kind of commerce the neighborhood can realistically support, given its shrunken populace since Hurricane Katrina. John Simerman, NOLA.com, "Councilwoman Cyndi Nguyen offers apology over 'greasy fried chicken' comment," 31 Aug. 2020 Further, reaching 100 million subscribers in the U.S. is impressive given about 35% of the country's 330 million populace are outside the prime 14-to-65 demo. Glenn Peoples, Billboard, "With 100 Million U.S. Subscribers, Streaming Services Declare: 'We Are Fully Part of This Industry'," 27 Aug. 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

15 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Populace.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/populace. Accessed 21 Sep. 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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