see also: Popular
  • (British) IPA: /ˈpɒpjʊlə/
  • (America) IPA: /ˈpɑpjələɹ/


  1. Common among the general public; generally accepted. [from 15th c.]
    • 2007, Joe Queenan, The Guardian, 23 Aug 2007:
      Contrary to popular misconception, MacArthur Park is not the worst song ever written.
  2. (legal) Concerning the people; public. [from 15th c.]
  3. Pertaining to or deriving from the people or general public. [from 16th c.]
    • 1594, Richard Hooker, Preface:
      At the coming of Calvin thither, the form of their civil regiment was popular, as it continueth at this day: neither king, nor duke, nor nobleman of any authority or power over them, but officers chosen by the people out of themselves, to order all things with public consent.
    • 2009, Diarmaid MacCulloch, A History of Christianity, Penguin 2010, page 645:
      Luther in popular memory had become a saint, his picture capable of saving houses from burning down, if it was fixed to the parlour wall.
    • 2009, Graham Smith, The Guardian, letter, 27 May 2009:
      Jonathan Freedland brilliantly articulates the size and nature of the challenge and we must take his lead in setting out a radical agenda for a new republic based on the principle of popular sovereignty.
  4. (obsolete) Of low birth, not noble; vulgar, plebian. [16th-17th c.]
    • 1603, Michel de Montaigne, chapter 17, in John Florio, transl., The Essayes, […], book II, printed at London: By Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount […], OCLC 946730821 ↗:
      Popular and shallow-headed mindes, cannot perceive the grace or comelinesse, nor judge of a smooth and quaint discourse.
  5. Aimed at ordinary people, as opposed to specialists etc.; intended for general consumption. [from 16th c.]
    • 2009, ‘Meltdown’, The Economist, 8 Apr 2009:
      As a work of popular science it is exemplary: the focus may be the numbers, but most of the mathematical legwork is confined to the appendices and the accompanying commentary is amusing and witty, as well as informed.
  6. (obsolete) Cultivating the favour of the common people. [16th-18th c.]
    • 1712, Joseph Addison, Cato, A Tragedy
      Such popular humanity is treason.
  7. Liked by many people; generally pleasing, widely admired. [from 17th c.]
    • 2011, The Observer, 2 Oct.:
      They might have split 24 years ago, but the Smiths remain as popular as ever, and not just among those who remember them first time around.
  8. Adapted to the means of the common people; cheap. [from 19th c.]
Antonyms Translations Translations
  • German: populär-
  • Portuguese: popular
  • Portuguese: popular
  • Russian: общедосту́пный
Translations Noun

popular (plural populars)

  1. A person who is popular, especially at a school.
    • 2002, Stephen Tropiano, The Prime Time Closet: A History of Gays and Lesbians on TV, Hal Leonard Corporation (ISBN 9781476847986):
      To pass time, Nicole (Tammy Lynn Michaels), the most vicious of the populars, decides they should play a little game. Earlier that day, in their feminist studies class, the women were discussing Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, a novel ...
  2. (chiefly, in the plural) An inexpensive newspaper with wide circulation.
    • 1983, Jeremy Tunstall, The Media in Britain, Columbia University Press (ISBN 9780231058162), page 75:
      Serious newspapers boomed; the populars became tabloid supplements to television, with the television schedules and related features increasingly the core of the newspaper.
  3. A member of the Populares
    • 1843, Thucydides, “The” History of the Grecian War, Translated by Thomas Hobbes, page 415:
      [...] when their ambassadors were come from Samos, and that they saw not only the populars, but also some others of their own party thought trusty before, to be now changed.


popular (plural populars)

  1. A member of any political party with "Popular" in the title, such as the Partido Popular in Spain or Popolari di Italia Domani in Italy

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