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 ©2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus