pop·​u·​lar | \ ˈpä-pyə-lər How to pronounce popular (audio) \

Definition of popular

1 : of or relating to the general public
2 : suitable to the majority: such as
a : adapted to or indicative of the understanding and taste of the majority a popular history of the war
b : suited to the means of the majority : inexpensive sold at popular prices
3 : frequently encountered or widely accepted a popular theory
4 : commonly liked or approved a very popular girl

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from popular

popularly adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for popular

common, ordinary, plain, familiar, popular, vulgar mean generally met with and not in any way special, strange, or unusual. common implies usual everyday quality or frequency of occurrence a common error lacked common honesty and may additionally suggest inferiority or coarseness. common manners ordinary stresses conformance in quality or kind with the regular order of things. an ordinary pleasant summer day a very ordinary sort of man plain is likely to suggest homely simplicity. plain hard-working people familiar stresses the fact of being generally known and easily recognized. a familiar melody popular applies to what is accepted by or prevalent among people in general sometimes in contrast to upper classes or special groups. a writer of popular romances vulgar, otherwise similar to popular, is likely to carry derogatory connotations (as of inferiority or coarseness). souvenirs designed to appeal to the vulgar taste

Examples of popular in a Sentence

They have names that were popular a century ago. He is a popular guy in school. Spicy foods have become increasingly popular. That is a very popular misconception. The word “groovy” was popular in the 1960s but it's outdated now. Her theories are popular among social scientists. a popular history of physics
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The effort comes four years after President Trump won the 2016 election despite losing the national popular vote, which led many Democrats to renew a push to abolish the Electoral College. Michael Lee, Washington Examiner, "House Democrats introduce constitutional amendment to ban Electoral College," 13 Jan. 2021 Only half the city's legislature is elected by popular vote. Fox News, "US joined by Australia, UK and Canada in criticizing Hong Kong mass arrests," 10 Jan. 2021 Biden finished with a record 81,281,502 votes nationally, defeating Trump in the popular vote by a sizable 7 million votes. USA Today, "By the numbers: President Donald Trump's failed efforts to overturn the election," 6 Jan. 2021 As a group of GOP House members pointed out this week, Republican presidential candidates have won the national popular vote only once in the last eight elections spanning 28 years. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley are torching the Constitution to further their own presidential ambitions," 6 Jan. 2021 Unlike Trump then, Biden also won the popular vote, garnering 7 million more votes than Trump. NBC news, "Fact check: Trump falsely suggests improper 'voter dump' as count continues in Georgia," 6 Jan. 2021 In addition to prevailing in the Electoral College, Biden won the popular vote by more than 7 million votes. Maureen Groppe, USA TODAY, "Mike Pence faces biggest loyalty test in announcing Trump's loss during a special session of Congress," 6 Jan. 2021 The electors are allocated based on the popular vote in each state. Alana Abramson, Time, "Congressional Republicans Won't Overturn Biden's Win. But Their Objections Are Still Dangerous," 5 Jan. 2021 In a joint statement released by Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a coalition of 11 senators and senators-elect pledged to reject the results of the presidential election, which Biden decisively won in both the Electoral College and the popular vote. Shannon Larson, BostonGlobe.com, "Here’s where Senate Republicans stand on certifying Biden’s win," 4 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'popular.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of popular

1548, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for popular

Latin popularis, from populus the people, a people

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about popular

Time Traveler for popular

Time Traveler

The first known use of popular was in 1548

See more words from the same year

Statistics for popular

Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Popular.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/popular. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for popular


How to pronounce popular (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of popular

: liked or enjoyed by many people
: accepted, followed, used, or done by many people
: of, relating to, or coming from most of the people in a country, society, or group


pop·​u·​lar | \ ˈpä-pyə-lər How to pronounce popular (audio) \

Kids Definition of popular

1 : of or relating to most of the people in a country or area the popular vote popular culture
2 : enjoyed or approved by many people a popular game
3 : frequently encountered or widely accepted popular opinion

Other Words from popular

popularly adverb a popularly held belief



Legal Definition of popular

1 : of or relating to the general public
2a : of, relating to, or by the people (as of a nation or state) as a whole as distinguished from a specific class or group
b : based on or alleged to be based on the will of the people

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on popular

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!