democracy

Whether you're talking about your glee club or a powerful nation, the word democracy describes government based on participation of the people, either directly or through elected representatives.

Democracy traces back to the Greek words demos, meaning "people," and kratia, meaning "power." "People power" remains central to democracy, whether you're describing a country or a much smaller organization. If your glee club is run as a democracy, then everybody gets to vote on questions like what you're going to sing and what kind of outfits you’re going to wear. Because democracy assumes some idea of equality, it's often used to mean a just society, one in which everyone is treated equally.

Definitions of democracy
  1. noun
    the political orientation of those who favor government by the people or by their elected representatives
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    type of:
    ideology, political orientation, political theory
    an orientation that characterizes the thinking of a group or nation
  2. noun
    a political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them
    synonyms: commonwealth, republic
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    types:
    Weimar Republic
    the German republic founded at Weimar in 1919
    parliamentary democracy
    a democracy having a parliament
    type of:
    form of government, political system
    the members of a social organization who are in power
  3. noun
    the doctrine that the numerical majority of an organized group can make decisions binding on the whole group
    synonyms: majority rule
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    type of:
    doctrine, ism, philosophical system, philosophy, school of thought
    a belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some group or school
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