ma·jor·i·ty (mə-jôrĭ-tē, -jŏr-)
n. pl. ma·jor·i·ties
1. The greater number or part; a number more than half of the total.
2. The amount by which the greater number of votes cast, as in an election, exceeds the total number of remaining votes.
3. The political party, group, or faction having the most power by virtue of its larger representation or electoral strength.
4. Law The age at which a person is recognized as an adult by the law.
5. The military rank, commission, or office of a major.
[French majorité, from Medieval Latin māiōritās, from Latin māior, greater; see meg- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: When majority refers to a particular number of votes, it takes a singular verb: Her majority was five votes. His majority has been growing by 5 percent every year. When it refers to a group of persons or things that are in the majority, it may take either a singular or plural verb, depending on whether the group is considered as a whole or as a set of people considered individually. So we say The majority elects (not elect) the candidate it wants (not they want), since the election is accomplished by the group as a whole; but The majority of the voters live (not lives) in the city, since living in the city is something that each voter does individually. · Majority is often preceded by great (but not by greater) in expressing emphatically the sense of "most of": The great majority approved. The phrase greater majority is appropriate only when considering two majorities: He won by a greater majority in this election than in the last.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.