pop·​u·​lous | \ ˈpä-pyə-ləs How to pronounce populous (audio) \

Definition of populous

1a : densely populated
b : having a large population
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 The governor of Texas, the US' second most populous state, paused the region's phased reopening plan on Thursday and ordered further restrictions on businesses including bars. Zamira Rahim, CNN, "More than 500,000 people have been killed by Covid-19. A quarter of them are Americans," 29 June 2020 California on Sunday ordered some bars to close, the first major rollback of efforts to reopen the economy in the most populous U.S. state as cases nationwide soar to record levels day after day. Sharon Bernstein And Lisa Shumaker, The Christian Science Monitor, "California joins Texas and Florida in reversing reopening," 28 June 2020 The justices' decision will affect at least next month's primary runoff voting in the nation's second most populous state. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "Supreme Court denies Texas Democrats' request for mail-in ballots," 26 June 2020 The government of neighboring Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, said Thursday that 24 people were killed by lightning. Joanna Slater, Washington Post, "Lightning strikes kill more than 100 in India," 26 June 2020 California, the most populous state, is seeing record-breaking infection figures. David Meyer, Fortune, "As would-be travelers from the U.S. to Europe may soon learn, local pandemic decisions can have global effects," 24 June 2020 For a quarter century, Florida’s been the nation’s most populous general election battleground state. Fox News, "Biden campaign goes after Trump comments on Venezuela," 23 June 2020 Given that Arizona is the 14th-most populous state in the country, the state's COVID-19 numbers at first glance may not appear bad, comparatively speaking. Stephanie Innes, azcentral, "'I am taken aback': Here's why Arizona's COVID-19 trajectory is concerning," 16 June 2020 Multnomah County is the state’s most populous and has the most cases, and the trends are mimicked there. oregonlive, "Governor puts statewide halt on reopening amid coronavirus surge, calls pause “a reminder, not a rollback”," 12 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for populous

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for populous

Last Updated

4 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Populous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/populous. Accessed 4 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for populous


How to pronounce populous (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of populous

formal : having a large population


pop·​u·​lous | \ ˈpä-pyə-ləs How to pronounce populous (audio) \

Kids Definition of populous

: having a large population a populous city

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