AskDefine | Define plurality

Dictionary Definition



1 the state of being plural; "to mark plurality, one language may add an extra syllable to the word whereas another may simply change the vowel in the existing final syllable"
2 a large indefinite number; "a battalion of ants"; "a multitude of TV antennas"; "a plurality of religions" [syn: battalion, large number, multitude, pack]
3 (in an election with more than 2 options) the number of votes for the candidate or party receiving the greatest number (but less that half of the votes) [syn: relative majority]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. The state of being plural.
  2. A number of votes for a single candidate or position which is greater than the number of votes gained by any other single candidate or position voted for, but which is less than a majority of valid votes cast.
  3. Many.
  4. (of spouses) polygamy.


Extensive Definition

In voting, a plurality vote is the largest number of votes to be given any candidate or proposition when three or more choices are possible. The candidate or proposition receiving the largest number of votes has a plurality. The concept of "plurality" in voting can be contrasted with the concept of "majority". Majority is "more than half". Combining these two concepts in a sentence makes it clearer, "A plurality of votes is a total vote received by a candidate greater than that received by any opponent but less than a majority of the vote."
The plurality voting system, also known as "first past the post", elects the candidate who is the stated first choice of the largest number of the voters who have cast a valid vote.

Smallest possible plurality

The smallest possible plurality is (v+n)/n, rounded up, where v is the number of members of the group (voters) and n is the number of categories (candidates). Thus in a five-candidate plurality election, just over 20 percent of the vote can theoretically win. If n is 2 then the plurality becomes a majority.

Religious councils

In religion, the term plurality has been coined to refer to an alternative system of church government, wherein the local assembly's decisions are made by a committee, each typically called an elder; in contrast to the "singularity" of the bishop hierarchy system (Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican churches); or the pastor / president system of many Protestant churches.
The plurality system is commonly encouraged among Presbyterians, Jehovah's Witnesses, Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, Plymouth Brethren, and some Apostolics.
Plurality is a slang term for Presbyterian ecclesiastical polity.
plurality in Catalan: Majoria simple
plurality in Czech: Pluralita
plurality in Norwegian: Simpelt flertall
plurality in Swedish: Relativ majoritet
plurality in Urdu: تناسبی اکثریت

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

a mass of, a world of, army, best part, better part, bevy, body, bulk, bunch, cloud, clutter, covey, essence, flight, flock, flocks, generality, gist, gravamen, hail, hive, host, jam, large amount, legion, lots, main body, major part, majority, many, mass, masses of, meat, mob, more than half, most, muchness, multitude, nest, numbers, pack, preponderance, preponderancy, quantities, quite a few, rout, ruck, scores, shoal, substance, swarm, the greatest number, throng, thrust, tidy sum, worlds of
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