Definition of plurality in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The fact or state of being plural.

    ‘some languages add an extra syllable to mark plurality’
    • ‘In keeping aloft ideals of plurality of thought, of economic and social justice and of dissent, teachers, teacher educators and the community must resist the ideological hijacking of our past, present and future.’
    • ‘Egypt ditched the one-party system in the mid-1970s in favour of greater plurality and one result of this is the degree of freedom we now see in the independent press.’
    • ‘In any case a degree of plurality, with respect to both topics and points of view, is also highly desirable.’
    • ‘A degree of plurality, with respect to both topics and points of view, is highly desirable.’
    1. 1.1[in singular]A large number of people or things.
      ‘a plurality of critical approaches’
      • ‘It is claimed that the diversity of social movements is necessitated by the plurality of experiences and meanings in contemporary society.’
      • ‘A current issue in many countries is the monopolisation of media by powerful interests, whether private of public, which lessens the plurality of voices in the public sphere.’
      • ‘It is bound to make claims to truth, but there is no reason in principle why Christianity cannot accept plurality of religions without renouncing its own claims to truth.’
      • ‘He urged that they craft a constitution that expressed their national identity and ethnic plurality, but also addressed the issue of modernity.’
      • ‘Such homogeneity works to neutralise sectarian differences in the political arena while providing the framework for the plurality of opinion and political platforms.’
      • ‘We have to accept plurality of values and there can't be a single trend or track.’
      • ‘What is more, a plurality want the troops to withdraw instantly (other polls have shown that a clear majority support instant withdrawal).’
      • ‘The cultural plurality and diversity can be seen in these areas.’
      • ‘The apparatus may be linked to a plurality of host systems for equal advantages.’
      • ‘Science should be seen as a Darwinian process whereby a plurality of theories compete for credibility, and only the fittest survive, perhaps only for one lifetime, in the endless process of self-correction.’
      • ‘So, given we all know there is a plurality of opinion within the Muslim community why choose the very organisation that actually is associated with reactionary views to form an alliance with?’
      • ‘This collection could have been infused with a more interdisciplinary approach and a greater plurality of insights, as aspects of the topic that one would hope to find are absent.’
      • ‘What we need instead is a bottom-up policy of encouraging local initiatives that would yield a plurality of renewable energy strategies appropriate to different areas.’
      • ‘Media plurality is important for a healthy and informed democratic society.’
      • ‘This plurality of approaches among contemporary artists mitigates against any singular characterisation.’
      • ‘The purpose behind this festival is to put into focus the plurality of approaches that contemporary classical dancers embody in their work.’
      • ‘The pragmatic approach stresses the plurality of aims that inquiry serves.’
      • ‘As any organization that exists, especially for such a considerable amount of time and through such troublesome events, a plurality of opinions and initiatives may exist.’
      • ‘To legitimize this compromise, the missionaries argued that slavery was not the sin, but the custom of plurality of wives which had no doubt been heightened by the years of the slave trade which usually removed more men than women.’
      • ‘No doubt it would assert that it merely wishes to maintain plurality of ownership and a diversity of titles, but it is not difficult to see how over time it could shape the content of newspapers.’
      wide variety, large number, lot, diversity, range
      multitude, multiplicity, galaxy, wealth, profusion, abundance, quantity, quantities, score, plethora, host
      load, stack, heap, pile, mass, ton
      View synonyms
  • 2US The number of votes cast for a candidate who receives more than any other but does not receive an absolute majority.

    • ‘In Geneva County, Graves and Black both won pluralities, receiving 927 and 980 first-choice votes respectively.’
    • ‘Though by a smaller plurality, Roosevelt managed to carry the Italian-American vote in 1940 as well.’
    • ‘In the second round, a plurality is sufficient.’
    • ‘And so when all the votes are counted, if he's got a plurality or a majority, he wins the state we all ought to rally behind him.’
    • ‘Invariably, multiparty elections in Nigeria were meant to encourage the expression of the needs of different interest groups and thereby create a representative plurality that would equate to true democracy.’
    • ‘Any group that could turn out its members on election day might produce a narrow plurality for a candidate with multiple opponents.’
    • ‘In a system based on plurality, the party that comes out on top needn't win a majority of the total votes cast.’
    • ‘Ten Democrats filed to run in the heavily Democratic district, but she won a plurality in the April 10, 2001 primary, receiving 33 percent of the vote.’
    • ‘You know the way this works, the plurality on the second ballot is plenty.’
    • ‘Helgen won on a plurality with 38.1 percent of the vote to Reiter's 32.1 percent.’
    • ‘In the end, despite these tight controls, the US-backed generals failed to win a majority of the vote, securing a plurality only through frenzied last minute stuffing of the ballot boxes.’
    1. 2.1The number by which plurality exceeds the number of votes cast for the candidate placed second.
  • 3historical

    ‘he obtained dispensations to hold several benefices in plurality’
    another term for pluralism
    • ‘In this exhibition, however, visual culture is not reductively promoted as a reassuring link between peoples or as a mindless celebration of plurality and multiculturalism.’
    • ‘We must be committed in promoting the values of peace, tolerance and plurality.’
    • ‘Our constitution is a symbol of plurality, equality, justice, harmony, unity and integrity.’
    • ‘The overall results reflect the country's plurality, the political literacy of its masses and the strength of its democracy.’
    • ‘For the first time since the introduction of political plurality in the mid- 1970s there was an issue over which political parties and independent forces could adopt a unified stand and test their strength through the ballot box.’


Late Middle English: from Old French pluralite, from late Latin pluralitas, from Latin pluralis relating to more than one (see plural).