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referendum

[ref-uh-ren-duh m] /ˌrɛf əˈrɛn dəm/
noun, plural referendums, referenda
[ref-uh-ren-duh] /ˌrɛf əˈrɛn də/ (Show IPA)
1.
the principle or practice of referring measures proposed or passed by a legislative body to the vote of the electorate for approval or rejection.
Compare initiative (def 4a).
2.
a measure thus referred.
3.
a vote on such a measure.
Origin
1840-1850
1840-50; < Latin: thing to be referred (neuter gerund of referre to bring back; see refer)
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for referenda
  • Voters in referenda twice approved tax increases to maintain the foot-patrol system, the second time by a two-to-one margin.
  • This, as people have noted, demonstrates why marriage laws should be left not to legislatures or referenda but to courts.
  • Between his referenda and campaigns for office, he has won six straight votes.
  • Requirements relating to referenda, including inconclusive referendum and applicable laws.
British Dictionary definitions for referenda

referendum

/ˌrɛfəˈrɛndəm/
noun (pl) -dums, -da (-də)
1.
submission of an issue of public importance to the direct vote of the electorate
2.
a vote on such a measure
3.
a poll of the members of a club, union, or other group to determine their views on some matter
4.
a diplomatic official's note to his government requesting instructions
See also (for senses 1, 2) plebiscite
Word Origin
C19: from Latin: something to be carried back, from referre to refer
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for referenda
referendum
1847, "submitting a question to the voters as a whole" (originally chiefly in reference to Switzerland), from Fr. or Ger., from L. referendum "that which must be referred," lit. "thing brought back," from neut. gerundive of referre "to bring or take back" (see refer). As a gerundive, it has no plural in Latin; referendums is preferred in Eng.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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referenda in Culture
referendum [(ref-uh-ren-duhm)]

A vote by the general public, rather than by governmental bodies, on a bill or some other important issue; a plebiscite. (See under “American Politics.”)

referendum [(ref-uh-ren-duhm)]

A direct popular vote on an issue of public policy, such as a proposed amendment to a state constitution or a proposed law. Referendums, which allow the general population to participate in policymaking, are not used at the national level, but are common at the state and local levels. A referendum is often used to gauge popular approval or rejection of laws recently passed or under consideration by a state legislature. A referendum can also be used to initiate legislative action.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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