What does democracy mean?

Definitions for democracy
dɪˈmɒk rə sidemoc·ra·cy

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word democracy.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. democracynoun

    the political orientation of those who favor government by the people or by their elected representatives

  2. democracy, republic, commonwealthnoun

    a political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them

  3. majority rule, democracynoun

    the doctrine that the numerical majority of an organized group can make decisions binding on the whole group


  1. democracynoun

    Rule by the people, especially as a form of government; either directly or through elected representatives (representative democracy).

  2. democracynoun

    A government under the direct or representative rule of the people of its jurisdiction.

  3. democracynoun

    Belief in political freedom and equality; the "spirit of democracy".

  4. Etymology: from democratie (French démocratie), from democratia, from δημοκρατία, from δῆμος + κράτος.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. DEMOCRACYnoun

    One of the three forms of government; that in which the sovereign power is neither lodged in one man, nor in the nobles, but in the collective body of the people.

    Etymology: δημοϰϱατία.

    While many of the servants, by industry and virtue, arrive at riches and esteem, then the nature of the government inclines to a democracy. William Temple.

    The majority having the whole power of the community, may employ all that power in making laws, and executing those laws; and there the form of the government is a perfect democracy. John Locke.


  1. Democracy

    Democracy (From Ancient Greek: δημοκρατία, romanized: dēmokratía, dēmos 'people' and kratos 'rule') is a form of government in which the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to choose governing officials to do so ("representative democracy"). Who is considered part of "the people" and how authority is shared among or delegated by the people has changed over time and at different rates in different countries. Features of democracy often include freedom of assembly, association, property rights, freedom of religion and speech, inclusiveness and equality, citizenship, consent of the governed, voting rights, freedom from unwarranted governmental deprivation of the right to life and liberty, and minority rights. The notion of democracy has evolved over time considerably. Throughout history, one can find evidence of direct democracy, in which communities make decisions through popular assembly. Today, the dominant form of democracy is representative democracy, where citizens elect government officials to govern on their behalf such as in a parliamentary or presidential democracy.Prevalent day-to-day decision making of democracies is the majority rule, though other decision making approaches like supermajority and consensus have also been integral to democracies. They serve the crucial purpose of inclusiveness and broader legitimacy on sensitive issues—counterbalancing majoritarianism—and therefore mostly take precedence on a constitutional level. In the common variant of liberal democracy, the powers of the majority are exercised within the framework of a representative democracy, but the constitution limits the majority and protects the minority—usually through the enjoyment by all of certain individual rights, e.g. freedom of speech or freedom of association.The term appeared in the 5th century BC in Greek city-states, notably Classical Athens, to mean "rule of the people", in contrast to aristocracy (ἀριστοκρατία, aristokratía), meaning "rule of an elite". Western democracy, as distinct from that which existed in antiquity, is generally considered to have originated in city-states such as those in Classical Athens and the Roman Republic, where various schemes and degrees of enfranchisement of the free male population were observed before the form disappeared in the West at the beginning of late antiquity. In virtually all democratic governments throughout ancient and modern history, democratic citizenship was initially restricted to an elite class, which was later extended to all adult citizens. In most modern democracies, this was achieved through the suffrage movements of the 19th and 20th centuries. Democracy contrasts with forms of government where power is either held by an individual, as in autocratic systems like absolute monarchy, or where power is held by a small number of individuals, as in an oligarchy—oppositions inherited from ancient Greek philosophy. Karl Popper defined democracy in contrast to dictatorship or tyranny, focusing on opportunities for the people to control their leaders and to oust them without the need for a revolution. World public opinion strongly favors democratic systems of government. According to the V-Dem Institute and Economist Intelligence Unit democracy indices, less than half the world's population lives in a democracy as of 2021. Democratic backsliding with a rise in hybrid regimes has exceeded democratization since the early to mid 2010s.


  1. democracy

    Democracy is a form of government or political system in which power is vested in the people, either directly or through elected representatives. It is characterized by freedom of speech, inclusiveness, equality, fairness, and the rule of law. In a democracy, citizens have the right to vote, express their opinions, and participate in political debates. Decisions are made based on the majority rule, but the rights of minorities are also respected and protected.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Democracynoun

    government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is retained and directly exercised by the people

  2. Democracynoun

    government by popular representation; a form of government in which the supreme power is retained by the people, but is indirectly exercised through a system of representation and delegated authority periodically renewed; a constitutional representative government; a republic

  3. Democracynoun

    collectively, the people, regarded as the source of government

  4. Democracynoun

    the principles and policy of the Democratic party, so called

  5. Etymology: [F. dmocratie, fr. Gr. dhmokrati`a; dh^mos the people + kratei^n to be strong, to rule, kra`tos strength.]


  1. Democracy

    Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Democracy allows eligible citizens to participate equally—either directly or through elected representatives—in the proposal, development, and creation of laws. It encompasses social, economic and cultural conditions that enable the free and equal practice of political self-determination. The term originates from the Greek δημοκρατία "rule of the people", which was coined from δῆμος "people" and κράτος "power" or "rule" in the 5th century BCE to denote the political systems then existing in Greek city-states, notably Athens; the term is an antonym to ἀριστοκρατία "rule of an elite". While theoretically these definitions are in opposition, in practice the distinction has been blurred historically. The political system of Classical Athens, for example, granted democratic citizenship to an elite class of free men and excluded slaves and women from political participation. In virtually all democratic governments throughout ancient and modern history, democratic citizenship consisted of an elite class until full enfranchisement was won for all adult citizens in most modern democracies through the suffrage movements of the 19th and 20th centuries. The English word dates to the 16th century, from the older Middle French and Middle Latin equivalents.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Democracy

    de-mok′ra-si, n. a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people collectively, and is administered by them or by officers appointed by them: the people, esp. the common people in the United States, the democratic party—also Democ′raty (Milt.).—n. Dem′ocrat, one who adheres to or promotes democracy as a principle: a member of the democratic party in the United States, who preserve carefully the local liberties of states and of individuals, opposing national centralisation, and supporting a wide franchise, low tariff duties for the interests of the revenue rather than protection, and a limited public expenditure.—adjs. Democrat′ic, -al, relating to democracy: insisting on equal rights and privileges for all.—adv. Democrat′ically.—adj. Democratifī′able, capable of being made democratic.—v.t. Democratise′, to render democratic.—n. Democ′ratist, a democrat. [O. Fr.,—Gr. dēmokratiadēmos, the people, and kratein, to rule—kratos, strength.]

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Democracy

    has been defined to be government of the people by the people and for the people, or as a State in which the government rests directly with the majority of the citizens, but this under the protest of some that it is not an end but a means "to the attainment of a truer and truer aristocracy, or government again by the Best."

The Roycroft Dictionary

  1. democracy

    1. A form of government by popular ignorance. 2. The dwarf's paradise. 3. Any political system where male votes are substitutes for brains. (This word comes from the Abracadabra: "demo," lungs; "crazy," to rule; hence, to rule by caloric.)

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Democracy

    A system of government in which there is free and equal participation by the people in the political decision-making process.

The Foolish Dictionary, by Gideon Wurdz


    A mysterious country, bounded on the east by Richard Olney, on the west by Willie Bryan, on the north by Dave Hill and on the south by Bennie Pitchfork Tillman.

Editors Contribution

  1. democracy

    A form of power to the people for the people with a fair and just form of proportional representation voting system that ensures, reflects and represents the collective and inclusive voting choice of the eligible electorate, citizens and people of the country and the specific areas of official governmental authority, that empowers the choice of the eligible electorate, citizens and people and provides the accurate processes, structures, systems and technology to ensure the eligible electorate, citizens and people of the country are empowered directly on the proposed, development and cocreation of a constitution, policies, procedures, structures, systems, law and legislation to ensure the collective and inclusive choices, opinion and voices of the eligible electorate, citizens and people of the country are heard using accurate, truthful and quantifiable data, information, facts, research and statistics. The people choose to focus on cocreating optimum health, human rights, right to life, shared prosperity for all, stability, socialism, solidarity, cohesion, animal rights, right to life, right to housing, fasttrack building of public housing on public land using nationalized construction organizations and public sector construction employees, right to free education, right to parent, right to free preschool education, right to a standard of living, equal and identical pay for all and a universal living income system, right to internet access, economic stability, financial stability, civil rights, equal rights, equal opportunities, employment rights, childrens rights, sustainable development, sustainable development goals, united partnership, multi-party working, community empowerment systems, redistribution of wealth, fairness and justness across society, the country, europe and the world and contribute to the cocreation of global and national peace agreements, peace treaties, the universes truth and a fair, just and transparent system of checks and balances.

    Democracy is a tool to create sustainable peace with ALL nations on planet Earth and to ensure the citizens, people and the eligible electorate are involved in the proposed, development and creation of laws and legislation to ensure a fair, just, equal and inclusive society that works for the optimum health, human rights, equal and shared prosperity for ALL.

    Submitted by MaryC on July 1, 2016  

Suggested Resources

  1. Democracy

    Democracy vs. Republic -- In this Grammar.com article you will learn the differences between the words Democracy and Republic.

Etymology and Origins

  1. Democracy

    From the Greek demos, people, and kratein, to rule. Government by the people.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'democracy' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #2466

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'democracy' in Written Corpus Frequency: #2661

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'democracy' in Nouns Frequency: #999

How to pronounce democracy?

How to say democracy in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of democracy in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of democracy in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

Examples of democracy in a Sentence

  1. Jeannette Rankin:

    How shall we explain to [women] the meaning of democracy if the same Congress that voted for war to make the world safe for democracy refuses to give this small measure of democracy to the women of our country?

  2. Engin Altay:

    This coup attempt has shown once again how precious democracy and are freedoms for us all, all 133 CHP members of parliament will be at Taksim. But we are not the only owners of democracy, everybody must come to the meeting and show the world how much democracy has been internalized (by Turks).

  3. Archibald MacLeish:

    Democracy is never a thing done. Democracy is always something that a nation must be doing. What is necessary now is one thing and one thing only that democracy become again democracy in action, not democracy accomplished and piled up in goods and gold.

  4. John Dewey:

    Modern life means democracy, democracy means freeing intelligence for independent effectivenessthe emancipation of mind as an individual organ to do its own work. We naturally associate democracy, to be sure, with freedom of action, but freedom of action without freed capacity of thought behind it is only chaos.

  5. Michael Moore:

    Capitalism is a lot more important than democracy, i'm not even a big believer in democracy. I always say that democracy can be two wolves and a sheep deciding on what to have for dinner. Look, I'm in favor of people having the right to vote and things like that. But there are a lot of countries that have the right to vote that are still poor. Democracy doesn't always lead to a good economy or even a good political system.

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"democracy." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 3 Oct. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/democracy>.

Discuss these democracy definitions with the community:

1 Comment
  • Êssà Frotãñ
    Êssà Frotãñ
    democracy have four element.
    (1) the citizen choose and replace the government through free and fair election.
    (2) there is an active participation of the citizen in political and civic life.
    (3) there is protection of human right of all citizen.
    (4) there is rule of law in which the law and procedure apply equally to all citizens.
    i love democracy and I will be follow in the rest of my life.
    LikeReply8 years ago

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