Talk:51 percent

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51 percent[edit]

None of the citations back up the purported definition - "a majority" - they're all simply uses of 51 percent to mean, well, 51% of something. I can't find a single use of 51 percent to mean something that's not 51%. There's a very limited use of phrases like "51% control" to mean "veto power" ("It's time to find another doctor- the way I see it- it's my body and I have 51% of the vote when it comes to my care and treatment") but I think that's just SOP. Just to add to the bizarreness, it claims the use is "proscribed", although I can't think who would ever have decreed either way on the subject of whether "51 percent" means "majority". Smurrayinchester (talk) 19:42, 3 April 2012 (UTC)

A majority is greater than half (or 50%). Using "51%" to represent that is inaccurate. DAVilla 02:09, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
I suppose the entry is claiming 51 percent means any majority, not necessarily one of exactly 51%. But, the citations don't back this up. Delete or move to rfv. Mglovesfun (talk) 19:51, 3 April 2012 (UTC)
Right. One of the quotations demonstrates this by equating 51 percent with simple majority. I'd guess the other two are not as clear-cut, but there are better examples out there. DAVilla 02:09, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
The proposed sense should be "a majority by a very slim margin". The first example in the current version, cited below, seems to mean it:
  • Decisions require the assent of all major groups, not a 51 percent majority in parliament.
If it is worth an entry, we should also have 99 percent meaning "almost completely" as in 99 percent certain. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 09:18, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
But it's not necessary to say there's a margin. Anything greater than 50% implies it. In fact the margin is more of a literal meaning that's unintended. People use it to mean there's a majority without thinking that they're rejecting anything between 50 and 51 percent. At least when we say 99% we know that's a hyperbole or an approximation at best. This is flat out incorrect. Simple majority means more than half. There is nothing simple about "at least fifty-one out of a hundred". DAVilla 00:48, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
I think we deleted that or a similar title. It could also be 99.9% or 99.99%. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:33, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
@DAVilla, which citation? Mglovesfun (talk) 11:38, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
The ones that express what they mean by saying "simple majority" are as clear as putting this definition in parentheses. The ones that aren't as explicit nonetheless have this same meaning. I am especially convinced of this after sorting through several dozen hits where 51 percent literally means 51% and some ambiguous hits where either sense might have been intended. DAVilla 01:30, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
Keep, I think. I'm not sure this is really a lexical idiom, and the current definition seems wrong — if "51 percent" really meant "a majority", then it would be hard to account for the cites that use "51 percent majority" and "majority of 51 percent" and so on" — but it definitely seems that "51 percent" is frequently used figuratively either to mean "a mere simple majority" or to emphasize the "mere"-ness of a simple majority, and it seems harmless to document that. And I note, along the lines of DAVilla and Mglovesfun above, that whereas people frequently hyperbolize "99%" to "99.9%", no one ever seems to hyperbolize "51%" to "50.1%"; 51% seems to be a magic number for purposes of this figure of speech. —RuakhTALK 02:12, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
I have added, but not cited, the sense "A narrow or bare majority." because I am fairly sure that it could be cited and is idiomatic. Delete current sense which doesn't seem idiomatic. DCDuring TALK 11:55, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps it's a non-UK thing? I don't think I've heard of it ever. Still, many of the citations seem to definitely refer to a literal 51% majority, as otherwise "51% majority" would mean "a majority majority" in those citations. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:03, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

Delete. In all the citations listed in the entry, "51 percent" seems to simply describe a specific percentage, without any clear idiomatic meaning attached to the words themselves. If citations can be found that more clearly show idiomatic usage of "51 percent" — similar to the idiomatic meanings that "1%" and "99%" have recently acquired in relation to the Occupy movement — I'll change my vote. Astral (talk) 21:47, 22 April 2012 (UTC)

Deleted. — Ungoliant (Falai) 04:08, 15 August 2012 (UTC)