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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
a majority verdictBritish English (= when most of the jury agrees)
▪ They were finding it difficult to reach a majority verdict.
absolute majority
majority leader
majority rule
▪ It took many years of struggle to establish majority rule in South Africa.
moral majority
▪ Smokers today are often made to feel like social outcasts by the moral majority.
overall majority
▪ The Conservatives had a huge overall majority in the House of Commons.
overwhelming majority
▪ An overwhelming majority of the members were against the idea.
silent majority
▪ National secured an absolute majority with only 35.1 % of the vote.
▪ Meanwhile the ex-communist Social Democrats are certain to be returned to power and even hope to obtain an absolute majority.
▪ The motion failed to obtain an absolute majority of 249 but it was a close-run thing.
▪ If there is a party with an absolute majority in the lower house it will form the government.
▪ As they controlled an absolute majority of shares, the club was effectively closed.
▪ If the candidate obtains an absolute majority, he is appointed Chancellor by the Federal President.
▪ If the Bill wins a clear majority, it is almost certain to become the basis of new legislation.
▪ A clear majority of the nine students wore Nikes.
▪ For all that, observers are unanimous that Swapo will emerge with a clear majority.
▪ It will be a clear majority when the century turns.
▪ Join Congress, Mr Gandhi seemed to be saying, and create a party strong enough to have a clear majority.
▪ For the first time in decades, the 500-seat Chamber is without a clear majority.
▪ It said there had been seven votes cast and a clear majority for Prime Suspect.
▪ In each case a clear majority of Republican voters rejected him.
▪ The Labour candidate advocating a pacifist programme, reversed a large Conservative majority in a seat never before held by Labour.
▪ From 1993 to 1995, a conservative legislative majority produced a second period of cohabitation.
▪ Yet Labour in the 1980s was still insufficiently united and popular to reverse the massive Conservative majority in terms of parliamentary seats.
▪ One must be held by May 1997 anyway, even if the precarious Conservative majority holds.
▪ The hectic schedule ended in Cheltenham, where the Liberal democrats hope to overturn a Conservative majority of just under 5,000.
▪ Many people suspended judgement and throughout the West Midlands reduced polls saw Conservative majorities cut.
▪ In a town with a Conservative majority of just 2,661, the personal charm and persuasion of each candidate will be crucial.
▪ Perhaps also he will reflect that he has reduced the Conservative majority to its lowest since 1951.
▪ It is immediately noticeable that the great majority of comments come from the childhood memories.
▪ The great majority, once they breach the system and hear the telltale whine, are out of there like a shot.
▪ But convenience is rated as the most important factor in deciding on a particular type of credit by the great majority.
▪ Anthropologists point out that within the great majority of agricultural communities grandmothers and older children take care of the young.
▪ A great majority of them are looking for the theatre of books, and it is not there.
▪ Today we are the great majority, and the enemies that we face are of our own species.
▪ In both surveys, the great majority of people said that they favoured the plan.
▪ These rulings compelled the reapportionment of the great majority of state legislatures.
▪ As I hope to demonstrate later, by far the largest majority of infants are biased towards being social rather than antisocial.
▪ Initially MacArthur had a large majority of the people with him.
▪ We already know that a large majority of women who do paid work at home feel themselves tied by child-care responsibilities.
▪ Even so, a large majority predicted the Republicans would retain control of the Senate and House.
▪ In some countries a large majority of the electorate do not even exercise the right to vote.
▪ The large majority of the counterforce explosions are subsurface bursts targeted against silo farms.
▪ Many councils are controlled by their political opponents, even in areas where Conservatives hold parliamentary seats with quite large majorities.
▪ The large majority of all Amors reach out into the heart of the asteroid belt near aphelion.
▪ As late as last year a narrow conference majority wanted to hold the party to unilateral nuclear disarmament.
▪ The margin is very narrow of their majority.
▪ With the new, narrow Republican majority, these moths suddenly matter.
▪ If Labour took all 42, it would still be 13 seats short of an overall majority.
▪ An overall Labour majority is not beyond the realms of possibility.
▪ The Conservatives need a 7.3 % swing to ensure that Labour loses 90 seats, and its overall majority.
▪ Before hearing the poll results, Mr Major and Mr Kinnock voiced their confidence that they would win with an overall majority.
▪ The government was elected in October 1974 with an overall majority of three.
▪ The Tories therefore would fall 12 seats short of an overall majority.
▪ Ladbrokes are offering 55-1 against Party Politics winning today and Labour having an overall majority in the election.
▪ With the Socialists in most constituencies opting to go it alone in pursuit of an overall majority, the left was now divided.
▪ As modernization proceeded, the overwhelming majority of graduates became healthily integrated within existing society.
▪ The overwhelming majority of these will be just existing ways of doing things.
▪ Most important, its implementation relied on the military, who, in the overwhelming majority, were adamantly anti-reform.
▪ And an overwhelming majority thought the photos would not further calls for tougher press controls.
▪ No, says the overwhelming majority.
▪ The overwhelming majority of peasant communications were oral in nature in a society that was still largely illiterate.
▪ But in terms of the protestant - loyalist philosophy, the overwhelming majority of catholics oppose the state's legitimacy.
▪ The overwhelming majority of the women, the children and the elderly we process with gas and fire.
▪ The departure of the two parties removed the Shamir government's parliamentary majority.
▪ Was it because its parliamentary majority prevented any real possibility of its position being threatened?
▪ Yet there was always an element of complacency about an administration which enjoyed a substantial parliamentary majority.
▪ Ministers could expect to have a parliamentary majority whatever they did.
▪ He had only a tiny parliamentary majority, and Britain was in the grip of another economic crisis.
▪ Between elections, a government with a sufficient parliamentary majority obedient to its will is absolute and omnipotent.
▪ At any rate, the party's share of the vote continued its slide, giving Labour a large parliamentary majority.
▪ Their parliamentary majority was reduced to a handful in February 1950 and eliminated in October 1951.
▪ Gingrich is now careful not to alienate Buchananites, whose votes are needed this year to maintain the Republican majority in Congress.
▪ But the new Republican majority in the Assembly changes the dynamics.
▪ With the new, narrow Republican majority, these moths suddenly matter.
▪ The Florida Legislature: Both the state senate and house of representatives have Republican majorities.
▪ The Republican majority might have a problem with him, though.
▪ Nor can the Republican majority on his panel be viewed as simply do-gooders out to restore candor to the White House.
▪ The Republican majority has backed away from plans to dramatically scale back the food stamp program.
▪ Nor did the president offer much of an olive branch to the Republican majority in Congress.
▪ That will not, by definition, come from the silent majority.
▪ But the silent, accommodating majorities on both sides will get on with the business of addressing the broader problems.
▪ This, therefore, is not the business of the silent majority which you have presented as your target.
▪ This turned him into a hero of the silent majority.
▪ It contains an inherent fallacy: you are expecting the silent majority to speak.
▪ For the silent majority will always be silent.
▪ The silent majority had begun to stand up.
▪ Highly-educated women were able to find a place within society: the silent majority remained silent.
▪ His lawyers have appealed to the constitutional court against the decree, which was agreed by a simple cabinet majority.
▪ Yet right now it is possible to raise the debt limit with a simple majority vote in both houses.
▪ The outcome of the election is, at least in simple majority systems, a direct arithmetic consequence of the individual votes cast.
▪ The idea of funding the museum with a lease revenue bond, which requires a simple majority vote, may be used.
▪ In practice, however, simple majorities were to be applicable only in six very minor and procedural areas.
▪ Three-fifths votes of both houses would be required, rather than simple majorities as now.
▪ All that was needed was a fifty-signature petition, a special general meeting and a simple majority in favour of the proposition.
▪ A simple majority was needed for approval.
▪ This causes no discernible pain in the vast majority of cases.
▪ There are over 80 strains, the vast majority symptomless and harmless.
▪ The vast majority of children do attend school for all or part of the primary school cycle.
▪ But for the vast majority of families who struggle to make ends meet without welfare, the speech could strike a chord.
▪ The vast majority of these migrants stayed broadly within the science, maths and engineering fields.
▪ But a young princess can seduce the vast majority of men.
▪ The vast majority curse the day they became hooked on the habit.
▪ And liberals have long been accustomed to expect the poor to speak in the resounding tones of a vast majority.
▪ The majority decision said the cabinet must now report to the legislature on its plan to scrap the plant.
▪ The jury took two hours to return a majority decision finding Shepherd guilty of assaulting Mr Hyslop.
▪ My major concern about the Maastricht negotiations relates to the limited majority decision making envisaged for foreign policy.
▪ He was therefore equally clear that majority decisions would not necessarily embody the general will or express the general interest.
▪ But Dole rebuffed calls that he resign as majority leader because he is too busy campaigning.
▪ Being majority leader is a good position to be in.
▪ Spitzer is set to be majority leader.
▪ Dole spent Wednesday in Washington acting in his official capacity as Senate majority leader.
▪ Bob Dole, R-Kan., the majority leader, had held many meetings with Clinton on the Bosian mess.
▪ On the other hand, no majority leader has ever won the presidency from the position, though several have tried.
▪ The week also provided some victories for the majority leader.
▪ The post of prime minister was to be held by a member of the majority party in the assembly.
▪ Think and act like the majority party by remaining the party of ideas.
▪ That is to say, chairmen are invariably the most senior member of the majority party on that committee.
▪ It can only happen after a disastrous split in the majority party or when no party has a majority.
▪ North Down - remained unionist, but Conservatives are no longer the majority party.
▪ There is the sovereignty of the majority party and its Whips.
▪ Most authorities lacked such a committee before this except in a shadow, non-statutory form within the majority party caucus.
▪ The final resolution will depend on the majority party group of members and the full council.
▪ Is majority rule under a system of parliamentary democracy a sufficient guarantee of legitimacy?
▪ In the case of spending and tax legislation, majority rule is thus further weakened.
▪ Many reject democracy in terms of party competition, majority rule and the rule of law.
▪ Those who peopled them have either been driven out in a bloody liberation war or yielded their political supremacy to majority rule.
▪ In these weeks, I have had the chance to listen to Joshua Nkomo calling for majority rule now.
▪ Two working conclusions follow from this, namely, toleration and the qualification of majority rule.
▪ The majority leadership's specialty became mounting filibusters or using other delaying tactics to prevent majority rule.
▪ Dole supporters described the Senate majority leader as a decent, honest person.
▪ Dole spent Wednesday in Washington acting in his official capacity as Senate majority leader.
▪ Dole, the Senate majority leader, on the front page.
▪ The Senate majority leader talked about a balanced budget, smaller government, lower taxes, and a strong foreign policy.
▪ The same election results that stunned the Senate majority leader may also have shaken him awake.
▪ Kansas' Dole is Senate majority leader, but he was not consulted because he is a candidate.
▪ Chicago-Seattle, running through the hometowns of the Senate majority leader and of the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee.
▪ Demand from investors will determine how many new shares are issued, although Pittencrieff said yesterday it will retain a majority stake.
▪ Vodafone, however, has a reputation of building up majority stakes in its company holdings.
▪ Races could only get going on a majority vote of the Student Union, and then only if it was quorate.
▪ Yet right now it is possible to raise the debt limit with a simple majority vote in both houses.
▪ The new statutes could only be changed by a two-thirds majority vote of the new Congress.
▪ The idea of funding the museum with a lease revenue bond, which requires a simple majority vote, may be used.
▪ If not, the proposal would then be put to the Council of eleven member states for a qualified majority vote.
▪ Because management usually controls a large number of shares, such resolutions almost never win a majority vote.
▪ The bulk -- 38 -- ask simply for a majority vote.
▪ Stopping the White House from selling weapons to a foreign country requires a majority vote in both houses of Congress.
▪ What if no party leader can form a government with majority support in the House?
▪ Together they form a pro-business majority.
▪ The situation is different in the case of hybrids, which form the great majority of Aponogeton plants in aquariums.
▪ This name covers a group of Aponogeton plants forming the great majority of aquarium representatives of this genus.
▪ The banks who held the great majority of private accounts were divided by Joslin into two groups.
▪ It was voted down by Republicans, who hold a majority on the Assembly Education Committee.
▪ They held a majority of seats on the National Executive Committee.
▪ Democrats still hold a majority in the Senate.
▪ Republicans hold a bare majority in the Assembly.
▪ On the other hand, you may fully share the sense of significance held by a majority of people.
▪ With Republicans now holding a 53-47 majority in the Senate, Sen.
▪ The possibility is dawning on Republicans that they could actually lose their majority in the House.
▪ After a ferocious election campaign, religious conservatives lost their majority on the board in November.
▪ He recalled watching the Democrats rebuff their own conservative wing until they lost their majority.
▪ If they lose it, they will probably lose their majority.
▪ Dianne Feinstein said Monday is unlikely to change unless the Republicans lose their majority in the House.
▪ The chances of losing their majority before five years are up become around four in ten.
▪ The Labour party have lost their majority which has enabled them to do a lot of stupid things.
▪ The overwhelming majority of the Tarim mummies either have been or are currently in the process of being destroyed.
▪ It includes the overwhelming majority of the voters and is consequently more heterogeneous in its social and ideological composition.
▪ The utilities' charts show that the overwhelming majority of air pollution in the region results from natural dust.
▪ The overwhelming majority are law-abiding and productive.
▪ But she has no good explanation why the overwhelming majority of hysterics seem to be women, especially today.
▪ In these cases, the overwhelming majority of the wastes are shipped by the generator to commercial facilities for treatment or disposal.
▪ Because the law requires a two-thirds majority for an appointment, government and opposition parties must agree in advance whom to elect.
▪ The idea of funding the museum with a lease revenue bond, which requires a simple majority vote, may be used.
▪ Directives based on Article 54 require majority voting.
▪ The measure, backed by all five members of the Novato City Council, required a simple majority for passage.
▪ A third and final round requiring only a three-fifths majority of 180 votes was due on March 3.
▪ Stopping the White House from selling weapons to a foreign country requires a majority vote in both houses of Congress.
▪ Both of these require only a qualified majority of the Council.
▪ A sense of congress resolution requires only a simple majority.
▪ The draft was due to be discussed with opposition parties in September with a view to securing a parliamentary majority.
▪ However, with his defeat at Puebla, the moderates secured a majority in Congress and determined to make peace.
▪ President Herzog granted the Labour leader a further 15 days in which to secure majority support.
▪ Leaders of several parties might form a coalition in order to secure majority support for certain policies.
▪ The way to avoid this was to vote Tory and secure a majority government maintaining the existing system.
▪ National secured an absolute majority with only 35.1 % of the vote.
▪ They hoped and believed that Bonar Law would fail to secure an overall majority for the Conservative Party.
▪ Election results Mahathir's coalition won 127 parliamentary seats, thereby securing its two-thirds majority.
▪ These findings are surprising since it is more difficult to show efficacy when the majority of patients have remission/mild disease.
▪ Polls showed that a vast majority of women agreed with our goal.
▪ The desire to stop Surveys have shown that a majority of adult smokers want to give up the habit.
▪ And major studies have shown that the vast majority have believed it, and have acted on that belief.
▪ But latest polls show a majority in favour of breaking away.
▪ Early polls showed a majority of Californians favored the surtax.
▪ A meeting of factory chiefs at Misano on Thursday, showed a majority were behind dropping the rules.
▪ The utilities' charts show that the overwhelming majority of air pollution in the region results from natural dust.
▪ The conclusion is that Nkrumah would have otherwise won by the two-thirds majority which was the general election pattern.
▪ Daley got 71. 4 percent of the vote, and won by a majority of 466, 672.
▪ Before hearing the poll results, Mr Major and Mr Kinnock voiced their confidence that they would win with an overall majority.
▪ Yeltsin won majorities in more than 80 of the 88 electoral districts.
▪ In 1972 Richard Nixon became the first Republican to win a majority of Catholic votes.
▪ Nevertheless, the resolution might still have won a majority had it not been for the stolen goods in the outhouse.
▪ Maskhadov beat Basayev and the others, winning by a majority.
a thin margin/majority etc
narrow victory/defeat/majority/margin etc
▪ Adjust the starting point so that you avoid a very narrow margin at the perimeter.
▪ Crowds gathered in central Lima last Sunday night to cheer his narrow victory over former president Alan Garcia.
▪ John F.. Kennedy that helped propel the handsome young Massachusetts Democrat to a narrow victory.
▪ On election night, however, the team squeaked out a narrow victory.
▪ Surprise! the seventh firm won the tender by a narrow margin.
▪ Their relatively late arrival in the quarter coupled with their costs and the narrow margins on the surprise Model 20 impacted earnings.
▪ Was Buzz Calkins' narrow victory over Tony Stewart enough to keep them interested?
▪ While both developer subsidies passed, the narrow margin clearly indicates the voters of this valley are beginning to wise up.
the moral majority
the silent majority
the vast majority (of sth)
▪ The vast majority of the immigrants have settled in the inner cities.
▪ But a young princess can seduce the vast majority of men.
▪ Disability and age While the vast majority of older people are able to live independently, significant minorities experience considerable difficulties.
▪ For the vast majority of people, getting enough fat is nothing to worry about.
▪ However, the vast majority of fans interviewed before the Tampa Bay game were angry, disappointed or a combination of both.
▪ Once the excavation is over, the vast majority of sites revert to the anonymity that they possessed before it started.
▪ That's why the vast majority of users are attracted to Microsoft Windows by its very simplicity.
▪ The low proportion with an acquittal outcome probably reflects that the vast majority of these cases involve a guilty plea.
▪ To operate the program in this manner would therefore be pointless, since the vast majority of results would remain undecided.
tyranny of the majority
working majority
▪ However, a second election took place in September of that year, which gave him a pathetic working majority of four.
▪ None gave the Tories a hope of being elected with a working majority.
▪ Since then, Labour has never won a secure working majority at any election.
▪ The working majority achieved by the Conservatives removed that worry.
▪ The debate was acrimonious, with opposition parties denouncing Shamir's deals with defectors from other parties to win his working majority.
▪ Together the four parties had 191 seats, a working majority of 11.
▪ With the support of various independents, they gave the General a solid working majority.
▪ Without its support the coalition will not have a working majority in parliament.
▪ A two-thirds majority is needed to override a veto.
▪ And now voters have chosen reform by unexpectedly large majorities.
▪ However, for the majority of those that eventually retired early, redundancy appears to have been the deciding factor.
▪ However, there is no doubt that the majority of authorities do favour an examination of reasonableness at the time of contracting.
▪ Meanwhile, the Senate voted but failed to get a two-thirds majority on the balanced budget and flag desecration amendments.
▪ Since 1879, House rules have required a majority of those voting for a distinct candidate to elect a speaker.
▪ That convention needed a consensus, while the London Dumping Convention adopts its resolutions by a two-thirds majority.
▪ The Labour candidate advocating a pacifist programme, reversed a large Conservative majority in a seat never before held by Labour.
▪ The vast majority of children do attend school for all or part of the primary school cycle.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Majority \Ma*jor"i*ty\, n.; pl. Majorities. [F. majorit['e]. See Major.]

  1. The quality or condition of being major or greater; superiority. Specifically:

    1. The military rank of a major.

    2. The condition of being of full age, or authorized by law to manage one's own affairs.

  2. The greater number; more than half; as, a majority of mankind; a majority of the votes cast.

  3. [Cf. L. majores.] Ancestors; ancestry. [Obs.]

  4. The amount or number by which one aggregate exceeds all other aggregates with which it is contrasted; especially, the number by which the votes for a successful candidate exceed those for all other candidates; as, he is elected by a majority of five hundred votes. See Plurality.

    To go over to the majority or To join the majority, to die.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1550s, "condition of being greater, superiority," from Middle French majorité (16c.), from Medieval Latin majoritatem (nominative majoritas) "majority," from Latin maior "greater" (see major (adj.)). Sense of "state of being of full age" is attested from 1560s; meaning "greater number or part" (of votes, etc.) first recorded 1690s. The majority "the dead" recorded from 1719.


n. More than half (50%) of some group

  1. n. the property resulting from being or relating to the greater in number of two parts; the main part; "the majority of his customers prefer it"; "the bulk of the work is finished" [syn: bulk] [ant: minority]

  2. (elections) more than half of the votes [syn: absolute majority]

  3. the age at which a person is considered competent to manage their own affairs [syn: legal age] [ant: minority]


A majority is the greater part, or more than half, of the total. It is a subset of a set consisting of more than half of the set's elements.

"Majority" can be used to specify the voting requirement, as in a "majority vote". A majority vote is more than half of the votes cast.

A majority can be compared to a plurality, which is a subset larger than any other subset considered. A plurality is not necessarily a majority as the largest subset considered may consist of less than half the set's elements. This can occur when there are three or more possible choices.

In British English the term majority is also alternatively used to refer to the winning margin, i.e. the number of votes separating the first-place finisher from the second-place finisher.

Other related terms containing the word "majority" have their own meanings, which may sometimes be inconsistent in usage.

Majority (disambiguation)

A majority is a subset of a group that is more than half of the entire group. Other uses of "majority" include:

  • Majority (sociology), a sub-group that holds power in society, whether or not they make up the numerical majority
  • Age of majority, in law, the age at which one acquires the full legal rights of an adult
  • In a military context, the state of holding the rank of, or having been commissioned as, a major
  • Majority (film), is a 2010 Turkish drama film
  • Majority opinion, judicial opinion agreed to by more than half of the members of a court
Majority (film)

Majority is a 2010 Turkish drama film directed by Seren Yüce, which tells the story of a middle class young man rebelling against his father's brutish authority while seeking a rough romance with a woman of ethnic minority. The film, which went on nationwide general release across Turkey on , won several Golden Orange awards at the 47th International Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival and was premiered at the 67th Venice International Film Festival, where it won the award for best debut film. Hürriyet Daily News reporter Vercihan Zilioğlu wrote that, "The director's moral tale draws on the example of today's Turkish youth and the timeless shadow of fathers over sons," and Today's Zaman reviewer Emine Yıldırım concludes that this is, "one of the rawest and truest stories from our society," and "As Yüce’s hardcore realism shows us, love sometimes does not conquer all when individuals chose to become part of the herd."

Usage examples of "majority".

Union, or Confederation, under altered conditions, by the majority which should accede to them, with a recognition of the right of the recusant minority to withdraw, secede, or stand aloof.

Gradually, the French became more and more intransigent and this climaxed in 1292 when the papal throne became vacant and the French and Italian factions in the College of Cardinals cancelled each other out to the extent that they wrangled for two years without reaching agreement: no candidate achieved the required two-thirds majority.

XIV, the Sun King of France, born in 1638, became king in 1643 and achieved his age of majority in 1661.

If the minority will not acquiesce, the majority must, or the Government must cease.

Rose Fuller moved that the address should be recommitted, but no arguments which he, or any speaker that took part with him adduced, could alter the disposition of the house upon the subject, and his motion was negatived by a large majority.

Accordingly, on the 12th of February, on the proposal of the second reading, government opposition was offered: the debate, after an adjournment, was resumed on the 15th, and continued through that day and the next, when the bill was thrown out by an overwhelming majority.

In 1867 the debtor for the first time was permitted, either before or after adjudication of bankruptcy, to propose terms of composition which would become binding upon acceptance by a designated majority of his creditors and confirmation by a bankruptcy court.

In the opposing picket line, men and women of ordinary appearance were in the majority, though there was a noticeable admixture of men in biknis, and women in codpieced, translucent business suits.

Some of it could be produced in the aeroponics bay, but the majority had to be foraged from the surfaces of alien planets.

When it was over and Thure and Bud again gave their attention to the court, Bill Ugger was about to continue with his testimony, the majority of the crowd having shown themselves so plainly in sympathy with the actions of the alcalde that the rougher ones evidently thought it wise to keep quiet.

There was no disposition, as General Butler explained, to unite the Civil-rights Bill with the Amnesty Bill, because the former could be passed by a majority, while the latter required two-thirds.

The disposition of the Republicans was to grant without hesitation an amnesty almost universal, the exceptions, with a majority of the party probably, being limited to three persons,--Jefferson Davis, Robert Toombs, and Jacob Thompson.

These theorists or political speculators have imagined a state of nature antecedently to civil society, in which men lived without government, law, or manners, out of which they finally came by entering into a voluntary agreement with some one of their number to be king and to govern them, or with one another to submit to the rule of the majority.

Then House majority leader Dick Armey, during a campaign event for Katherine Harris in Florida on September 20, 2002, was asked why the Jewish community is divided between liberals and conservatives.

Besides Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich, the Republican team included Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi, and two Texans, Congressman Dick Armey, the House majority leader, and Congressman Tom DeLay, the House majority whip.