1. a direct vote by the electorate of a state, region, etc, on some question of usually national importance, such as union with another state or acceptance of a government programme
2. any expression or determination of public opinion on some matter
1. A direct vote in which the entire electorate is invited to accept or refuse a proposal: The new constitution was ratified in a plebiscite.
2. A vote in which a population exercises the right of national self-determination.
[French plébiscite, from Latin plēbiscītum : plēbis, genitive of plēbs, the people; Indo-European roots + scītum, decree, from neuter past participle of scīscere, to vote for, inchoative of scīre, to know; see skei- in Indo-European roots.]
[Latin plebiscitum “a decree or resolution of the people,” from plebs (genitive plebis) “the common people” + scitum “decree,” noun use of neuter past participle of sciscere “to assent, vote for, approve,” inchoative of scire “to know”]
mid 16th century (referring to Roman history): from French plébiscite, from Latin plebiscitum, from plebs, pleb- ‘the common people’ + scitum ‘decree’ (from sciscere ‘vote for’). The sense ‘direct vote of the whole electorate’ dates from the mid 19th century.
“direct vote of the people,” 1860 (originally in reference to Italian unification), from French plébiscite (1776 in modern sense, originally with reference to Switzerland)
ple·bis′ci·tar′y (plə-bĭs′ĭ-tĕr′ē, plĕb′ĭ-sĭt′ə-rē) adj.
noun, plural su·per·ma·jor·i·ties.
1. a majority that must represent some percentage more than a simple majority.
2. a majority greater than a specified number, as 60%, of the total: required to pass certain types of legislation, override vetos, etc.
Supermajorities are sometimes utilized by legislative bodies when issues are of national importance, and for constitutional ratification and amendment.
noun, plural ref·er·en·dums, ref·er·en·da [ref-uh-ren-duh]
1. the principle or practice of referring measures proposed or passed by a legislative body to the vote of the electorate for approval or rejection.
2. a measure thus referred.
3. a vote on such a measure.
[1847, “a submitting of a question to the voters as a whole” (originally chiefly in reference to Switzerland), from French or German, from Latin referendum “that which must be referred,” literally “thing brought back,” neuter gerundive of referre “to bring or take back”. As a gerundive, it has no plural in Latin; referendums is preferred in English.]