noun, plural referendums, referenda [ref-uh-ren-duh] .
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 ).
a measure thus referred.
a vote on such a measure.

1840–50; < Latin: thing to be referred (neuter gerund of referre to bring back; see refer) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To referenda
World English Dictionary
referendum (ˌrɛfəˈrɛndəm)
n , pl -dums, -da
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
[C19: from Latin: something to be carried back, from referre to refer]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

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
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
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.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
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.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature