Definition of majority in English:


nounPlural majorities

  • 1The greater number.

    ‘in the majority of cases all will go smoothly’
    as modifier ‘it was a majority decision’
    • ‘The draft constitution was voted yesterday by the overall majority of the Iraqi people.’
    • ‘Overwhelming majorities of Americans believe the federal government isn't doing enough to protect the environment.’
    • ‘The BCC's majority shareholder is the state, through the Ministry of Finance.’
    • ‘The majority of respondents had received their basic nursing education at the baccalaureate level.’
    • ‘How do you respond to this large silent majority of religious people who are being wedged out of the conversation?’
    • ‘He recently, for the first time, became the club's majority shareholder.’
    • ‘The Austrian company wanted a majority stake, while Mobiltel offered a minority stake.’
    • ‘I totally agree with the thought that he is mistaken in the majority of his decisions, don't you?’
    • ‘Christians still comprise the majority of Arab Americans nationally.’
    • ‘Ultimately phone masts are here to stay as the majority don't want poor or patchy reception.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘Medieval agriculture was undertaken by peasants who of course constituted the overwhelming majority of the total population.’
    • ‘But the latter will not be possible if a country's majority does not understand the language of government.’
    • ‘Still, most human rights lawyers read the majority opinion as a major disappointment.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They constitute the great majority of the people.’
    • ‘A survey of shoppers conducted at the same time showed a clear majority in favour of the development, however.’
    • ‘"Their proposals are a cynical, deceptive way to recreate some form of unionist majority rule.’
    larger number, larger part, greater number, greater part, major part, best part, better part, main part, most, more than half
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    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’
      • ‘The constituency is currently a Tory seat with a majority of 11, 238 in the last election.’
      • ‘He currently has a majority of 4,922 votes - surely enough to defeat the Conservative in second place.’
      • ‘In the end, the most vicious electoral battle of 2005 was won with a majority of 823 votes.’
      • ‘Mr Davey held his seat in Kingston and Surbiton with a reduced majority of 8,966 votes.’
      • ‘Griffin could do real damage to Ann Cryer's slender Labour majority of just 4,005.’
      • ‘In this example, the clear winner is candidate A with a majority over Candidate B of 5,000.’
      • ‘He came in third with 3,680 votes, while Mr Pope won the seat with a majority of 8,219.’
      • ‘At the last general election in 2001 he had a majority of 4,275 votes over the Conservative candidate.’
    2. 1.2 A party or group receiving the greater number of votes.
      • ‘The new premier must still form a government that commands a majority in the legislature or call new polls.’
      • ‘McKibbin is right, however, to point out that massive Parliamentary majorities emasculate political parties and their ideologies.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Chen has never commanded a majority in the legislature.’
      • ‘But does this have the fact of disqualifying the Labour majority from considering the planning application?’
      • ‘Just before Thanksgiving, Senate majority leader Tom Daschle ducked questions about the military tribunals.’
      • ‘In last June's general elections, the party lost its parliamentary majority.’
    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.’
      margin, winning margin, superiority of numbers, superiority of votes
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  • 2mass 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’
    • ‘The rights apply to all persons under 18 except in countries where the age of majority is lower.’
    • ‘Because she is below the age of majority she is not eligible for welfare.’
    • ‘If it is wrong to do it prior to majority, it is wrong to do it immediately after majority.’
    • ‘Typically, these costs are only compensated until the child reaches the age of majority.’
    • ‘Under Canadian criminal law, tobacco products and accessories require age of majority to be sold.’
    • ‘In four of those provinces, cyclists over the age of majority must also wear helmets.’
    • ‘The maternal subsidy would vary in proportion to the number of their children under 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.’
    • ‘As each beneficiary reaches the age of majority, the rule in Saunders and Vautier may apply.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘David was not convicted of a criminal offence after 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.’
    • ‘Parent B agrees to support the Child financially until the age of majority.’
    coming of age, legal age, seniority, adulthood, manhood, womanhood, maturity
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  • 3The rank or office of a major.

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


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


  • be in the majority

    • Belong to or constitute the larger group or number.

      ‘publishing houses where women are in the majority’
      • ‘If the Democrats were in the majority, they'd find the Republicans holding up nominations to the courts to be anathema.’
      • ‘First, when the Democrats were in the majority, the two parties roughly split the money.’
      • ‘If they were in the majority with no need to secede, what would they do?’
      • ‘This is more a function of the corrupting affect of being in the majority, I think, than of which ideology is dominant.’
      • ‘You sought to exercise forceful ‘mob rule’ when you were in the majority, but now a different mob is in charge.’
      • ‘In south inner-city Manchester they were in the majority.’
      • ‘You know as youths, we do not like being in the majority and yet dominated by those in the minority.’
      • ‘In the beginning it was Irish emigrants suffering from homelessness or social exclusion that were in the majority in the centre.’
      • ‘Students I interviewed who attended southern schools said that right-of-center kids were in the majority and set the tone.’
      • ‘Female victims were in the majority, and statistics showed physical abuse accounted for about 80 per cent of all cases.’
      be in the majority, preponderate, be predominant, be greater in amount, be greater in number, be greatest in amount, be greatest in number, be prevalent, prevail, dominate, reign, be the order of the day
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Mid 16th century (denoting superiority): from French majorité, from medieval Latin majoritas, from Latin major (see major).