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[pop-yuh-luh s] /ˈpɒp yə ləs/
the common people of a community, nation, etc., as distinguished from the higher classes.
all the inhabitants of a place; population.
Origin of populace
1565-75; < French < Italian popolaccio, equivalent to popol(o) people + -accio pejorative suffix
Can be confused
populace, population, populous. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for populace
  • The entire populace had poured out into the streets to gaze up in wonder at what was happening above them.
  • Our national populace is more diverse across the board than any nation in the world.
  • Repressive governments try to keep the populace happy with bread and circuses.
  • They are used to control the populace by instilling terror.
  • The populace lines up on the main thoroughfare to watch hours of marching bands, homemade floats and home-crowned royalty.
  • It's not the will of someone inserting their will on the populace.
  • Not only were the battalions welcomed tumultuously by the populace with music and flags, but they were entertained.
  • But among the populace at large the exhilaration of freedom may be fading.
  • Their illicit affair coincides with a raging cholera epidemic that has wiped out half the populace.
  • It's whether the current welfare and future of its populace is being look after and whether they are satisfied.
British Dictionary definitions for populace


noun (sometimes functioning as pl)
the inhabitants of an area
the common people; masses
Word Origin
C16: via French from Italian popolaccio the common herd, from popolo people, from Latin populus
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 populace

1570s, from Middle French populace (16c.), from Italian popolaccio "riffraff, rabble," from popolo "people" (from Latin populus "people;" see people (n.)) + pejorative suffix -accio.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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