• 1Liked or admired by many people or by a particular person or group.

    ‘she was one of the most popular girls in the school’
    ‘these cheeses are very popular in Europe’
    • ‘Mardar is a motorcycle courier, popular with the girls for his brooding good looks.’
    • ‘I was awkward around girls, albeit very popular with them because I could make them laugh.’
    • ‘It is very popular with both boys and girls, and the boys are relieved they don't have to play with dolls in prams any more.’
    • ‘In the course of his work he was known to many people in the local towns and was very popular with everybody.’
    • ‘It's a cross between netball and football, and is popular with Norwegian girls in this country.’
    • ‘Friday was music day as musical tots proved very popular with children and staff!’
    • ‘Devizes is an historic market town which is popular with local residents and those from further afield.’
    • ‘It has become in her view an arty scene, trendy to visit at the weekend and popular with tourists.’
    • ‘Doncaster town centre has an enormous market which is popular with locals and visitors alike.’
    • ‘The books have become hugely popular with young boys and students who don't like to read.’
    • ‘He knew he was handsome and popular with the girls and no girls could resist him.’
    • ‘That was quite popular with the folk crowd, but I kept my eye open to what was going on in the States.’
    • ‘He said the well water was of excellent quality and had always been popular with local people.’
    • ‘For a number of years he drove the local school bus and was very popular with all his young passengers.’
    • ‘The group was led by his younger brother Koki who was always popular with everyone, cool and laid back.’
    • ‘The area is popular with tourists and there is good demand for rental accommodation.’
    • ‘The game is proving very popular with locals with several wins over recent weeks.’
    • ‘Maud had a lovely manner and kind nature and she was very popular with her neighbours in Kilbeg.’
    • ‘She was well liked and popular with her class mates and her year group.’
    • ‘The Nomads played at the club on Thursday and proved very popular with the membership.’
    well liked, liked, favoured, in favour, well received, approved, admired, accepted, welcome, sought-after, in demand, desired, wanted
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  • 2[attributive] (of cultural activities or products) intended for or suited to the taste, understanding, or means of the general public rather than specialists or intellectuals.

    ‘editorials accusing the government of wanting to gag the popular press’
    • ‘The Chinese exported ceramics for the popular taste of early Muslim rulers in the ninth century.’
    • ‘The vote was a result of a mass popular campaign uniting the left, the unions and the global justice movement.’
    • ‘Here again, he fears, his preferences are hopelessly at odds with popular tastes.’
    • ‘Press releases might have been compiled, to some extent, in anticipation of popular tastes.’
    • ‘Even the splits within the establishment are a product of popular anti-war pressure.’
    • ‘How does the public know the appointees are representing popular rather than elite interests?’
    • ‘So, if intelligent design is the popular choice, perhaps we should just get used to it.’
    • ‘Not that Home has much hope of appealing to popular taste stuck away on BBC Four, of course.’
    • ‘For the first time, environmental issues are at the heart of widespread popular activity.’
    • ‘He showed that at key turning points it was popular activity of the masses that shaped events.’
    • ‘Moreover, no popular bestseller has been written or translated on this issue.’
    • ‘Yet they made no concessions to popular taste, or even to prevailing trends in dance music.’
    • ‘We had made a pact to tackle together one of the mountains of popular cultural or die in the attempt.’
    • ‘In the popular press, however, the two commingled and were accessible to all readers.’
    • ‘Ironically, it was a rant about popular press waffling on about the bursting of the internet bubble.’
    • ‘The subject of each drawing is the image, or images, that created a popular cultural event.’
    • ‘What we found in making these selections, is that it is all too easy to moan about the decline and fall of popular culture.’
    • ‘It is true that these are terms of public parlance, rather than of popular speech.’
    • ‘I wonder if this approach is so popular because of intellectual laziness as much as anything else?’
    • ‘It follows that these extraordinary sculptures are more than studies in popular culture.’
    non-specialist, non-technical, non-professional, amateur, lay, lay person's, general, middle-of-the-road
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    1. 2.1(of a belief or attitude) held by the majority of the general public.
      ‘many adult cats, contrary to popular opinion, dislike milk’
      • ‘Among his other devices to rally popular opinion was a relief of pressure on the Orthodox Church.’
      • ‘The play is set in a country embroiled in an ongoing war, where one woman dares to stand out against popular opinion.’
      • ‘In fact, Moore expresses a set of increasingly popular attitudes toward politics.’
      • ‘We have at least established that contrary to popular belief, Yanks do have a sense of humour.’
      • ‘Don't be tempted by the increasingly popular belief that all garden furniture needs a patio.’
      • ‘The price tags on premium ranges also contradict the popular belief that healthy eating costs more.’
      • ‘Agricola disregarded many of the popular beliefs about minerals and fossils.’
      • ‘Even if there is a popular belief that it is only for the classes, I cannot challenge.’
      • ‘In the wake of the pit closures crisis of the early 1990s, there was a shift in popular attitudes.’
      • ‘There is no sense of the artist's responsibility to represent popular sentiments.’
      • ‘He knew precisely how to manipulate popular opinion and revelled in the attention he got.’
      • ‘There is a popular belief amongst law enforcement officers that the war on drugs has already been lost.’
      • ‘This popular fallacy about room temperature is a hangover from the years when wine was a luxury for the few.’
      • ‘This is the rule of the law, which must not be held sway to the most current popular opinion.’
      • ‘Contrary to popular belief, in the right circumstances domesticated dogs will kill cats.’
      • ‘In modern drama there is no such thing as the rational counter to wildfire popular beliefs.’
      • ‘Studies of Scottish popular belief in the trials have hitherto emphasised narratives.’
      • ‘There is a popular belief that property is a better investment than shares.’
      • ‘The popular opinion was that if Stein had a weakness it was in making substitutions.’
      • ‘A new government in Baghdad will have to do its utmost to meet popular expectations.’
      widespread, general, common, current, prevalent, prevailing, customary, universal, standard, stock, shared, in circulation, rife
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  • 3[attributive] (of political activity) carried on by the people as a whole rather than restricted to politicians or political parties.

    ‘a popular revolt against colonial rule’
    • ‘There are many examples of regimes every bit as repressive as Iraq's falling to popular revolt.’
    • ‘There was genuine popular interest in the party about the debate the NPI had initiated.’
    • ‘As in British elections, there was a carnival air to much popular involvement in politics.’
    • ‘If the party in power has to retain popular support, it has to list out what it has achieved.’
    • ‘The salient reality was the depth of popular antipathy to the political establishment as a whole.’
    • ‘Even those in the front line of defending the old system were overcome by the popular revolt.’
    • ‘This remains an extremely controversial subject in popular Italian politics.’
    • ‘What kinds of crime have been subject to most political and popular attention?’
    • ‘As he watched popular and political support for Richard ebb away, he decided to make a bid for the crown himself.’
    • ‘This vote, incidentally, represented the peak of popular support for the party.’
    • ‘They also saw the danger to the Labour Party of popular mobilisation led by the far left.’
    • ‘The only clue he gave lay in the distinction he made between popular sovereignty and political power.’
    • ‘There is popular outrage over the deliberate deception used to carry out this war.’
    • ‘I fear that you are the victim of a political party struggling to find popular appeal.’
    • ‘In a party built on ideology, the will of the party reigns over the popular will.’
    • ‘The election was held without any great popular enthusiasm for any politician.’
    • ‘Sinn Fein is confident it can stretch its lead over Mark Durkan's party in terms of the popular vote.’
    • ‘This belief is not based on any evidence that the Labour Party enjoys massive popular support.’
    • ‘He made the party more amenable to Stalin, but lost a lot of popular support for the party as a result.’
    • ‘Why did so many different regimes ask for his help when they were threatened by popular revolt?’
    mass, general, communal, collective, social, societal, collaborative, group, civil, public, civic
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Late Middle English (in the sense ‘prevalent among the general public’): from Latin popularis, from populus people. Sense 1 dates from the early 17th century.