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:
“Coming out, all the way out, is offered more and more as the political solution to our oppression. The argument goes that, if people could see just how many of us there are, some in very important places, the negative stereotype would vanish overnight. ...It is far more realistic to suppose that, if the tenth of the population that is gay became visible tomorrow, the panic of the majority of people would inspire repressive legislation of a sort that would shock even the pessimists among us.”
—Jane Rule (b. 1931)
“To say then, the majority are wicked, means no malice, no bad heart in the observer, but, simply that the majority are unripe, and have not yet come to themselves, do not yet know their opinion.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
“The majority of the men of the North, and of the South and East and West, are not men of principle. If they vote, they do not send men to Congress on errands of humanity; but while their brothers and sisters are being scourged and hung for loving liberty,... it is the mismanagement of wood and iron and stone and gold which concerns them.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)