Definition of plurality in English:



  • 1mass 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.’
    • ‘A degree of plurality, with respect to both topics and points of view, is highly desirable.’
    • ‘In any case a degree of plurality, with respect to both topics and points of view, is also highly desirable.’
    1. 1.1in singular A large number of people or things.
      ‘a plurality of critical approaches’
      • ‘What is more, a plurality want the troops to withdraw instantly (other polls have shown that a clear majority support instant withdrawal).’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘We have to accept plurality of values and there can't be a single trend or track.’
      • ‘The apparatus may be linked to a plurality of host systems for equal advantages.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He urged that they craft a constitution that expressed their national identity and ethnic plurality, but also addressed the issue of modernity.’
      • ‘The purpose behind this festival is to put into focus the plurality of approaches that contemporary classical dancers embody in their work.’
      • ‘The cultural plurality and diversity can be seen in these areas.’
      • ‘Such homogeneity works to neutralise sectarian differences in the political arena while providing the framework for the plurality of opinion and political platforms.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This plurality of approaches among contemporary artists mitigates against any singular characterisation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Media plurality is important for a healthy and informed democratic society.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      wide variety, large number, lot, diversity, range
      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 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.’
    • ‘You know the way this works, the plurality on the second ballot is plenty.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Helgen won on a plurality with 38.1 percent of the vote to Reiter's 32.1 percent.’
    • ‘In Geneva County, Graves and Black both won pluralities, receiving 927 and 980 first-choice votes respectively.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Though by a smaller plurality, Roosevelt managed to carry the Italian-American vote in 1940 as well.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In the second round, a plurality is sufficient.’
    1. 2.1 The 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 (sense 2)
    • ‘The overall results reflect the country's plurality, the political literacy of its masses and the strength of its democracy.’
    • ‘We must be committed in promoting the values of peace, tolerance and plurality.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Our constitution is a symbol of plurality, equality, justice, harmony, unity and integrity.’


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