Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A direct vote in which the entire electorate is invited to accept or refuse a proposal: The new constitution was ratified in a plebiscite.
  • n. A vote in which a population exercises the right of national self-determination.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A referendum, especially one that concerns changes in sovereignty

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A vote by universal male suffrage; especially, in France, a popular vote, as first sanctioned by the National Constitution of 1791.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Same as plebiscitum.
  • n. An expression of the will or pleasure of the whole people in regard to some measure already decided upon; a vote of the whole people for the ratification or disapproval of some matter: chiefly a French usage.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a vote by the electorate determining public opinion on a question of national importance

Etymologies

French plébiscite, from Latin plēbiscītum : plēbis, genitive of plēbs, the people; + scītum, decree, from neuter past participle of scīscere, to vote for, inchoative of scīre, to know.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin plebs, plebis ("the common people"). (Wiktionary)

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