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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Plebiscite'

Plebiscite Meaning and Definition from WordNet (r) 2.0
    plebiscite n : a vote by the electorate determining public opinion on a question of national importance
Plebiscite Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Plebiscite \Pleb"i*scite\, n. [F. pl['e]biscite, fr. L. plebiscitum.] A vote by universal male suffrage; especially, in France, a popular vote, as first sanctioned by the National Constitution of 179
  1. [Written also plebiscit.] Plebiscite we have lately taken, in popular use, from the French. --Fitzed. Hall.
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Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Plebiscite'

A referendum (also known as a plebiscite or a ballot question) is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of direct democracy. The measure put to a vote is known in the U.S. as a ballot proposition or measure.

The word plebiscite comes from the Latin plebiscita, which originally meant a decree of the Concilium Plebis, the popular assembly of the Roman Republic. Referendums and referenda are both commonly used as plurals of referendum. However, the use of referenda is deprecated by the Oxford English Dictionary, which advises that:

In the United States a plebiscite is typically known as an initiative when originating in a petition of ordinary citizens, and as a referendum only if it consists of a proposal referred to voters by the legislature. A plebiscite can be considered a kind of election and is often referred to as such in the U.S. (an election literally means a choice). In other countries the term election is often reserved for events in which elected representatives are chosen.

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'Plebiscite' in famous quotation sentence

* If men use their liberty in such a way as to surrender their liberty, are they thereafter any the less slaves If people by a plebiscite elect a man despot over them, do they remain free because the despotism was of their own making - Herbert Spencer

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