A majority is a subset of a set consisting of more than half of the set's elements. This can be compared to a plurality, which is a subset larger than any other subset considered; i.e. a plurality is not necessarily a majority as the largest subset considered may consist of less than half the set's elements. In British English, majority and plurality are often used as synonyms, and the term majority is also alternatively used to refer to the winning margin, i.e. the number of votes separating the first-place finisher from the second-place finisher.
A majority may be called a simple majority to contrast with other types of majority: an overall majority, in parliamentary systems, is the difference of legislators between the government and its opposition; an absolute majority is a majority of all electors, not just those who voted; and a supermajority is a stronger majority than a simple majority.
Famous quotes containing the word majority:
“[John] Broughs majority is glorious to behold. It is worth a big victory in the field. It is decisive as to the disposition of the people to prosecute the war to the end. My regiment and brigade were both unanimous for Brough [the Union party candidate for governor of Ohio].”
—Rutherford Birchard Hayes (18221893)
“Oh, how desperately bored, in spite of their grim determination to have a Good Time, the majority of pleasure-seekers really are!”
—Aldous Huxley (18941963)
“There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men. When the majority shall at length vote for the abolition of slavery, it will be because they are indifferent to slavery, or because there is but little slavery left to be abolished by their vote. They will then be the only slaves. Only his vote can hasten the abolition of slavery who asserts his own freedom by his vote.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)