Definition of majority in English:

majority

noun

  • 1The greater number:

    ‘in the majority of cases all will go smoothly’
    [as modifier] ‘it was a majority decision’
    • ‘But the latter will not be possible if a country's majority does not understand the language of government.’
    • ‘The draft constitution was voted yesterday by the overall majority of the Iraqi people.’
    • ‘The majority of respondents had received their basic nursing education at the baccalaureate level.’
    • ‘Women are now a majority of students at America's colleges.’
    • ‘Should I really just accept decisions of the majority of the town council, and not speak out if I believe them to be wrong?’
    • ‘They constitute the great majority of the people.’
    • ‘Christians still comprise the majority of Arab Americans nationally.’
    • ‘How do you respond to this large silent majority of religious people who are being wedged out of the conversation?’
    • ‘Ultimately phone masts are here to stay as the majority don't want poor or patchy reception.’
    • ‘I totally agree with the thought that he is mistaken in the majority of his decisions, don't you?’
    • ‘The Austrian company wanted a majority stake, while Mobiltel offered a minority stake.’
    • ‘The BCC's majority shareholder is the state, through the Ministry of Finance.’
    • ‘A survey of shoppers conducted at the same time showed a clear majority in favour of the development, however.’
    • ‘The monarchy has its roots in the tribal leadership among the country's Pashtun majority in the south.’
    • ‘The initiative was passed by a majority of voters in San Diego County.’
    • ‘"Their proposals are a cynical, deceptive way to recreate some form of unionist majority rule.’
    • ‘Medieval agriculture was undertaken by peasants who of course constituted the overwhelming majority of the total population.’
    • ‘Still, most human rights lawyers read the majority opinion as a major disappointment.’
    • ‘Overwhelming majorities of Americans believe the federal government isn't doing enough to protect the environment.’
    • ‘He recently, for the first time, became the club's majority shareholder.’
    larger number, larger part, greater number, greater part, major part, best part, better part, main part, most, more than half
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1British The number by which the votes cast for one party or candidate exceed those for the next:
      ‘Labour retained the seat with a majority of 9,830’
      • ‘In this example, the clear winner is candidate A with a majority over Candidate B of 5,000.’
      • ‘Griffin could do real damage to Ann Cryer's slender Labour majority of just 4,005.’
      • ‘The constituency is currently a Tory seat with a majority of 11, 238 in the last election.’
      • ‘Mr Davey held his seat in Kingston and Surbiton with a reduced majority of 8,966 votes.’
      • ‘He came in third with 3,680 votes, while Mr Pope won the seat with a majority of 8,219.’
      • ‘In the end, the most vicious electoral battle of 2005 was won with a majority of 823 votes.’
      • ‘At the last general election in 2001 he had a majority of 4,275 votes over the Conservative candidate.’
      • ‘He currently has a majority of 4,922 votes - surely enough to defeat the Conservative in second place.’
    2. 1.2 A party or group receiving the greater number of votes.
      • ‘Following a number of defections from other parties, Thai Rak Thai commanded an absolute majority in parliament.’
      • ‘Chuck Schumer rose to ask whether the Senate majority leader might yield for a question.’
      • ‘Just before Thanksgiving, Senate majority leader Tom Daschle ducked questions about the military tribunals.’
      • ‘The new premier must still form a government that commands a majority in the legislature or call new polls.’
      • ‘Chen has never commanded a majority in the legislature.’
      • ‘In last June's general elections, the party lost its parliamentary majority.’
      • ‘McKibbin is right, however, to point out that massive Parliamentary majorities emasculate political parties and their ideologies.’
      • ‘But does this have the fact of disqualifying the Labour majority from considering the planning application?’
    3. 1.3US The number by which votes for one candidate are more than those for all other candidates together.
      • ‘Without this shift, Kerry would have had a popular majority of a million votes.’
      superiority of numbers, superiority of votes
      View synonyms
  • 2[mass noun] The age at which a person is legally a full adult, usually either 18 or 21:

    ‘kids get control of the money when they reach the age of majority’
    • ‘One was blonde, one was brunette, and it was obvious neither of them were very much over the age of majority.’
    • ‘In four of those provinces, cyclists over the age of majority must also wear helmets.’
    • ‘If it is wrong to do it prior to majority, it is wrong to do it immediately after majority.’
    • ‘Because she is below the age of majority she is not eligible for welfare.’
    • ‘The maternal subsidy would vary in proportion to the number of their children under the age of majority.’
    • ‘David was not convicted of a criminal offence after the age of majority.’
    • ‘Under Canadian criminal law, tobacco products and accessories require age of majority to be sold.’
    • ‘As each beneficiary reaches the age of majority, the rule in Saunders and Vautier may apply.’
    • ‘Typically, these costs are only compensated until the child reaches the age of majority.’
    • ‘Parent B agrees to support the Child financially until the age of majority.’
    • ‘But, if he wants to change his name by deed poll, Batigol will have to wait until the age of majority.’
    • ‘The rights apply to all persons under 18 except in countries where the age of majority is lower.’
    • ‘That injunction was of unlimited duration, although it would inevitably end when the ward reached the age of majority.’
    • ‘It has not been amended even though the age of majority has for many years been reduced to 18.’
    coming of age, legal age, seniority, adulthood, manhood, womanhood, maturity
    View synonyms
  • 3The rank or office of a major.

    • ‘In 1872 Captain Macfarlane was promoted to majority.’

Usage

Strictly speaking, majority should be used with countable nouns to mean ‘the greater number’, as in the majority of cases. Use with uncountable nouns to mean ‘the greatest part’, as in I spent the majority of the day reading, is not considered good standard English, although it is common in informal contexts

Origin

Mid 16th century (denoting superiority): from French majorité, from medieval Latin majoritas, from Latin major (see major).

Pronunciation

majority

/məˈdʒɒrɪti/