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plurality

[ploo-ral-i-tee] /plʊˈræl ɪ ti/
noun, plural pluralities.
1.
the excess of votes received by the leading candidate, in an election in which there are three or more candidates, over those received by the next candidate (distinguished from majority).
2.
more than half of the whole; the majority.
3.
a number greater than one.
4.
fact of being numerous.
5.
a large number; multitude.
6.
state or fact of being plural.
7.
Ecclesiastical.
  1. the holding by one person of two or more benefices at the same time; pluralism.
  2. any of the benefices so held.
Origin
1325-1375
1325-75; Middle English pluralite < Old French < Late Latin plūrālitās. See plural, -ity
Related forms
nonplurality, noun, plural nonpluralities.
Can be confused
majority, plurality (see synonym study at majority)
Synonyms
1. See majority.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for plurality
  • But the views of scientists are a critical part of that plurality.
  • Critics and rivals say that the move would threaten media plurality.
  • Earlier philosophers pondered the plurality of worlds with less dire consequences.
  • It is a plurality of different things that do not share any one element but nevertheless bear a resemblance to one another.
  • Initially, the initiative had plurality support in the polls.
  • The main effect of audience fragmentation is something well worth having: plurality.
  • Maybe not a true majority, but a plurality would be required.
  • And, of course, the existing plurality of parties already means there is room for quite a lot of opinions.
  • Such paradoxes are a well-known characteristic of plurality voting systems.
  • The trend toward electing directors by majority rather than by plurality could have a huge effect.
British Dictionary definitions for plurality

plurality

/plʊəˈrælɪtɪ/
noun (pl) -ties
1.
the state of being plural or numerous
2.
(maths) a number greater than one
3.
(US & Canadian) the excess of votes or seats won by the winner of an election over the runner-up when no candidate or party has more than 50 per cent British equivalent relative majority
4.
a large number
5.
the greater number; majority
6.
another word for pluralism (sense 1)
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 plurality
n.

late 14c., "state of being plural," from Old French pluralite (14c.), from Late Latin pluralitatem (nominative pluralitas), from Latin pluralis (see plural). Meaning "fact of there being many, multitude" is from mid-15c. Church sense of "holding of two or more offices concurrently" is from mid-14c. Meaning "greater number, more than half" is from 1570s but is etymologically improper, perhaps modeled on majority. U.S. sense of "excess of votes over rival candidate(s)," especially when none has an absolute majority, is from 1828.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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