suffrage

noun suf·frage \ ˈsə-frij , sometimes -fə-rij \
Updated on: 12 Nov 2017

Definition of suffrage

1 :a short intercessory prayer usually in a series
2 :a vote given in deciding a controverted question or electing a person for an office or trust
3 :the right of voting :franchise; also :the exercise of such right

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Examples of suffrage in a Sentence

  1. women who fought for suffrage

  2. even as the world entered the 21st century, some nations still did not permit women's suffrage

Recent Examples of suffrage from the Web

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

Did You Know?

Why would a 17th-century writer warn people that a chapel was only for "private or secret suffrages"? Because in addition to the meanings listed above, "suffrage" has been used since the 14th century to mean "prayer" (especially a prayer requesting divine help or intercession). So how did "suffrage" come to mean "a vote" or "the right to vote"? To answer that, we must look to the word’s Latin ancestor, suffragium, which can be translated as "vote," "support," or "prayer." That term produced descendants in a number of languages, and English picked up its senses of "suffrage" from two different places. We took the "prayer" sense from a Middle French suffragium offspring that emphasized the word’s spiritual aspects, and we elected to adopt the "voting" senses directly from the original Latin.

Origin and Etymology of suffrage

in sense 1, from Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin suffragium, from Latin, vote, political support, from suffragari to support with one's vote; in other senses, from Latin suffragium

suffrage Synonyms

Synonyms
ballot, enfranchisement, franchise, vote
Antonyms
disenfranchisement
Related Words
say, say-so, voice


SUFFRAGE Defined for English Language Learners

suffrage

noun

Definition of suffrage for English Language Learners

  • : the right to vote in an election


SUFFRAGE Defined for Kids

suffrage

noun suf·frage \ ˈsə-frij \

Definition of suffrage for Students

:the right to vote

Law Dictionary

suffrage

noun suf·frage \ ˈsə-frij \

legal Definition of suffrage

1 :a vote in deciding a controverted question or the choice of a person for an office or trust
  • no State…shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate
  • U.S. Constitution art. V
2 :the right of voting :franchise; also :the exercise of such right

Origin and Etymology of suffrage

Latin suffragium vote, political support, from suffragari to support with one's vote



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