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

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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 The word “groovy” was popular in the 1960s but it's outdated now.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
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Recent Examples on the Web Because of Democratic rules that give no delegates to candidates who score less than 15% of the vote in a state or congressional district, Sanders could build a delegate lead far greater than his advantage in the popular vote. Author: Mike Debonis, Michael Scherer, Anchorage Daily News, "Down-ballot Democrats move to distance themselves from Sanders," 23 Feb. 2020 His big win, following his capture of the popular vote in Iowa and New Hampshire, increases fears among some Democrats that a Sanders nomination could cost them both the White House and Congress. Christal Hayes, USA TODAY, "Bernie Sanders' Nevada win forces Democrats to reckon with potential impact of his nomination," 23 Feb. 2020 Sanders held an early lead of better than 2-1 in the popular vote in Nevada over former Vice President Joe Biden in second place, with former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren lagging behind. Joe Garofoli, SFChronicle.com, "Bernie Sanders wins big in Nevada, rolls toward California with momentum," 22 Feb. 2020 Sanders is widely viewed now as the front-runner in the Democratic field, after winning the popular vote in the first two nominating contests of Iowa and New Hampshire. Craig Gilbert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Paul Ryan says a Bernie Sanders nomination would help GOP win back the U.S. House," 21 Feb. 2020 The other 47 are statewide delegates and will be awarded based on the popular vote, with any candidate receiving at least 15% of the vote guaranteed at least one delegate. cleveland, "As early voting starts, Ohio still isn’t a main focus for most Democratic candidates," 19 Feb. 2020 In 1984 Ronald Reagan won 61% of voters under 25, more than his 59% of the popular vote. William A. Galston, WSJ, "Why the Young Back Bernie Sanders," 18 Feb. 2020 Sanders supporters are particularly boisterous when the senator takes on the establishment, and more recently popular, Mike Bloomberg. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: Bloomberg qualifies for next two debates," 18 Feb. 2020 Never mind that Sanders won the popular vote in Iowa (and that Buttigieg only narrowly won in delegates). Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "How Pundits Manipulate Math to Dismiss Sanders," 13 Feb. 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for popular

Time Traveler

The first known use of popular was in 1548

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Statistics for popular

Last Updated

27 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Popular.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/popular. Accessed 27 Feb. 2020.

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on popular

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for popular

Spanish Central: Translation of popular

Nglish: Translation of popular for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of popular for Arabic Speakers

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