the right to vote, especially in a political election.
a vote given in favor of a proposed measure, candidate, or the like.
Ecclesiastical. a prayer, especially a short intercessory prayer or petition.

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin suffrāgium voting tablet, vote, equivalent to Latin suffrāg(ārī) to vote for, support + -ium -ium

antisuffrage, adjective
nonsuffrage, noun
presuffrage, noun
prosuffrage, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
suffrage (ˈsʌfrɪdʒ)
1.  the right to vote, esp in public elections; franchise
2.  the exercise of such a right; casting a vote
3.  a supporting vote
4.  a prayer, esp a short intercessory prayer
[C14: from Latin suffrāgium]

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

c.1380, "prayers or pleas on behalf of another," from O.Fr. suffrage (13c.), from M.L. suffragium, from L. suffragium "support, vote, right of voting," from suffragari "lend support, vote for someone," from sub "under" + fragor "crash, din, shouts (as of approval)," related to frangere "to break" (see
fraction). The meaning "right to vote" is first found in the U.S. Constitution, 1787.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
suffrage [(suf-rij)]

The right to vote (see franchise). In the United States, the term is often associated with the women's movement to win voting rights. (See suffragist.)

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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Encyclopedia Britannica


in representative government, the right to vote in electing public officials and adopting or rejecting proposed legislation.

Learn more about suffrage with a free trial on

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The solutions are to end both direct democracy and universal adult suffrage.
We have already seen that the introduction of universal suffrage is not
  contemplated at present.
Universal suffrage means that everyone should have an equal opportunity to
  vote, regardless of social background.
It is the significance of laws guaranteeing free speech, universal suffrage,
  and equality before the law.
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