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From elector (person eligible to vote in an election; German prince entitled to elect the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire) +‎ -ate (suffix denoting an office or rank; or something characterized by [the specified word]).[1] Elector is ultimately derived from Proto-Indo-European *leǵ- (to collect, gather).





electorate (plural electorates) (politics)

  1. The collective people of a country, state, or electoral district who are entitled to vote.
    Synonym: constituency
    The votes have been counted and the electorate has spoken.
    • 2019 August 10, Gordon Brown, “The very idea of a United Kingdom is being torn apart by toxic nationalism”, in Katharine Viner, editor, The Guardian[1], London: Guardian News & Media, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 8 August 2022:
      Incoming governments normally announce that they will seek to serve the whole electorate. Now, playing out in triplicate across the UK is a "divide and rule" approach to leadership, straight from Donald Trump's playbook: each faction consolidating its base, choosing an enemy and accusing opponents of treason in the hope that in a multiparty system they can win with a minority of votes.
  2. (historical) The office, or area of dominion, of an Elector (a German prince entitled to elect the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire); an electorship.
    • 1827, Henry Hallam, “On the Reign of William II”, in The Constitutional History of England from the Accession of Henry VII. to the Death of George II. [], volume II, London: John Murray, [], →OCLC, footnote †, page 534:
      [I]n case Hanover should be attacked on the ground of a German quarrel, unconnected with English politics, we were not bound to defend her; yet, if a power at war with England should think fit to consider that electorate as part of the king's dominions, which perhaps according to the law of nations might be done, our honour must require that it should be defended against such an attack.
    • 1837 July, Thomas Babington Macaulay, “Lord Bacon [Francis Bacon]. []”, in Critical and Historical Essays, Contributed to the Edinburgh Review. [], 2nd edition, volume II, London: [] Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, [], published 1843, →OCLC, page 305:
      The line of demarcation [between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism] ran, as it still runs, through the midst of the Netherlands, of Germany, and of Switzerland, dividing province from province, electorate from electorate, and canton from canton.
    • 2016, Peter H[amish] Wilson, “Lands”, in Heart of Europe: A History of the Holy Roman Empire, Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, →ISBN, part II (Belonging), page 187:
      [] Brandenburg, emerging around what would become Berlin, acquired distinct status as an electorate in the mid-fourteenth century.
  3. (chiefly Australia, New Zealand) A geographical area represented by one or more elected officials; a constituency, an electoral district.
    Synonyms: (Australia) division, (Canada) riding, (Australia) seat, ward
    The electorate of Finchley borders on the electorate of Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh, splitting the new housing estate of Royal Cupolas.

Derived terms





  1. ^ electorate, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, September 2022; electorate, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading