Definition of plebiscite in English:


See synonyms for plebiscite

Translate plebiscite into Spanish


  • 1The direct vote of all the members of an electorate on an important public question such as a change in the constitution.

    ‘the administration will hold a plebiscite for the approval of constitutional reforms’
    • ‘The leading business association even advocated a ‘no’ vote in the 1999 plebiscite on the new constitution.’
    • ‘This involves not one but three votes in two plebiscites and one federal referendum - and heaven knows how many state votes.’
    • ‘There could be no question of a plebiscite on a constitution, after what had happened in Piedmont, and Napoleon was not one to waste time with constituent assemblies.’
    • ‘For years referenda were discredited in the public mind by plebiscites organized by totalitarian governments which inevitably produced a gratifying majority.’
    • ‘He called all Imams and preachers to direct and urge people to participate in the plebiscite on the permanent constitution and participate in the coming elections.’
    • ‘I turn now to the constitution and conduct of the plebiscite. The constitution provides for preselection plebiscites.’
    • ‘And if people thought the referendum could be used against him as a plebiscite on his government's record, they would be disappointed.’
    • ‘Following the Yalta agreement of 1945, Mongolians voted overwhelmingly for independence in a plebiscite, which the Republic of China recognized.’
    • ‘James deplored the fact that this year ended as the last had begun - with an unsuccessful vote on the question of holding a plebiscite on the road.’
    • ‘Councillors may turn the question over to the general public and use it as a plebiscite question during the next municipal election in the fall.’
    • ‘I don't know how many people notice this, but as we pile vote upon vote and plebiscite upon plebiscite we are wading very deep into the world of election politics.’
    • ‘This is why Labor will hold a series of plebiscites: direct voting to involve the Australian people at every stage of the process.’
    • ‘A national plebiscite on the constitution will be held before October 15.’
    • ‘The vote can be defined as a plebiscite against the existing regime, which has discredited itself and is hated by broad sections of the population.’
    • ‘Under provincial legislation, a petition with enough signatures can force city council to put the question on a plebiscite.’
    • ‘In one case, Luxembourg, the inhabitants took advantage of a Nazi-organized plebiscite in 1941 to vote 97% against the occupation.’
    • ‘If the public cannot have a clear understanding of what they are going to vote for, the plebiscite cannot have any meaning.’
    • ‘Under the constitution, French presidents have a choice between two ratification methods: a national plebiscite, or a vote by both houses of parliament.’
    • ‘Although he once again urged people in Taiwan that, ‘We must keep walking the right path and must not stop,’ he did not bring up the question of a plebiscite.’
    • ‘A 1990 plebiscite in Slovenia voted overwhelmingly for independence from Yugoslavia, as did one in 1991 in Croatia.’
    vote, referendum, ballot, poll
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Roman History A law enacted by the plebeians' assembly.
      ‘Dionysius can cite a plebiscite of 492 protecting a tribune from interruption at a public meeting,’
      • ‘From then on legislation was formulated more and more by means of plebiscites.’



/ˈplebəˌsīt/ /ˈplɛbəˌsaɪt/


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.