pop·​u·​lous | \ˈpä-pyə-ləs \

Definition of populous 

1a : densely populated

b : having a large population

2a : numerous

b : filled to capacity

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Other Words from populous

populously adverb
populousness noun

Did You Know?

With a metropolitan area of more than 20 million people, Mexico City could be called the world's second or third most populous city. And the nearby Aztec city of Tenochtitlán was one of the largest cities in the world even when Hernán Cortés arrived there in 1519. But by the time Cortés conquered the city in 1521 it wasn't nearly so populous, since European diseases had greatly reduced the population. Avoid confusing populous and populace, which are pronounced exactly the same.

Examples of populous in a Sentence

the most populous state in the U.S.

Recent Examples on the Web

But the push for democratic reforms in Africa’s second most populous country hasn’t been smooth. Sylvie Corbet, The Seattle Times, "French president backs Ethiopia leader’s sweeping reforms," 29 Oct. 2018 More than a decade ago, the world’s most populous country started opening new theaters at a prodigious rate and began permitting the release of more and more American films. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Hollywood and the Limits of China's Box Office," 3 Apr. 2018 In California, the country’s most populous state, ballot counting can take weeks. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Early numbers suggest voter turnout soared in the 2018 midterms," 7 Nov. 2018 Other populous states, including New York, Florida and Illinois, also have never elected a woman as governor. Christina A. Cassidy, The Seattle Times, "More than 20 states have never had a woman as governor," 29 Oct. 2018 Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes said Tuesday that his office, in the state's most populous county, learned of the issues Monday afternoon. Alex Pappas, Fox News, "Arizona election officials report problems with voting machines," 28 Aug. 2018 Supporters of dividing California argue the nation's most populous state has become ungovernable because of its size, wealth disparities and geographic diversity. Amy Lieu, Fox News, "'Cal 3' backer urges court to dismiss lawsuit opposing California break-up plan," 14 July 2018 The slow-moving storm has brought catastrophic flooding to Texas, killed at least nine people, led to mass evacuations and paralyzed Houston, the fourth most-populous U.S. city. Melanie Feuk, Houston Chronicle, "Dam gates, dredging are major topics at county flood bond meeting in Kingwood," 12 July 2018 Slowly but surely, the country’s eighth-most-populous state is becoming more purple. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Leaked recordings of Ga. governor candidate highlight why people mistrust politicians," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'populous.' 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 populous

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for populous

Middle English, from Latin populosus, from populus people

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Last Updated

30 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for populous

The first known use of populous was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of populous

: having a large population


pop·​u·​lous | \ˈpä-pyə-ləs \

Kids Definition of populous

: having a large population a populous city

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More from Merriam-Webster on populous

Spanish Central: Translation of populous

Nglish: Translation of populous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of populous for Arabic Speakers

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