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[suhf-rij] /ˈsʌf rɪdʒ/
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
Related forms
antisuffrage, adjective
nonsuffrage, noun
presuffrage, noun
prosuffrage, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for suffrage
  • 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.
  • It is no accident that they began to go up when universal suffrage was introduced.
  • Her celebration was to let her people exercise the right of universal suffrage.
  • The fight for suffrage was a long one, and there were countless heroes along the way.
  • It implemented universal suffrage and proportional representation.
British Dictionary definitions for suffrage


the right to vote, esp in public elections; franchise
the exercise of such a right; casting a vote
a supporting vote
a prayer, esp a short intercessory prayer
Word Origin
C14: from Latin suffrāgium
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 suffrage

late 14c., "prayers or pleas on behalf of another," from Old French suffrage (13c.), from Medieval Latin suffragium, from Latin suffragium "support, vote, right of voting," from suffragari "lend support, vote for someone," from sub "under" (see sub-) + 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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suffrage in Culture
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 Article for suffrage

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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