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From Middle English suffrage (prayers or pleas on behalf of another), from Old French, from Medieval Latin suffragium, from Latin suffragium (support, vote, right of voting). The sense of "vote" or "right to vote" was directly derived from classical Latin.


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˈsʌfɹɪdʒ/
    • (file)


suffrage (usually uncountable, plural suffrages)

  1. (uncountable) The right or chance to vote, express an opinion, or participate in a decision, especially in a democratic elections.
    universal suffrage, women's suffrage, negro suffrage
    • 1999, Ellen Carol DuBois, Feminism and Suffrage: The Emergence of an Independent Women's Movement in America, 1848-1869, Cornell University Press, →ISBN, page 79:
      The issues to be presented to the people of the state were black suffrage and woman suffrage. The Equal Rights Association committed all its limited resources to the Kansas campaign.
    1. (US) The right of women to vote.
      • 2013 May 28, Julie V. Gottlieb; Richard Toye, The Aftermath of Suffrage: Women, Gender, and Politics in Britain, 1918-1945, Springer, →ISBN:
        What role did the House of Commons play in the political life of the nation in the aftermath of suffrage? There is surprisingly little historiography to help answer the question.
  2. (countable) A vote in deciding a particular question.
    • 1833, Henry Clay, Thomas Hart Benton, editor, Abridgment of the Debates of Congress, from 1789 to 1856[1], published 1859, page 213:
      But the President himself says that " upon him has been devolved, by the constitution, and the suffrages of the American people, the duty of superintending the operation of the executive departments of the Government,
    • 1822, Edward Wynne, William Meechan Bythewood, Eunomus: or, Dialogues concerning the law and constitution of England, volume 2, page 369:
      Hence, by rendering the suffrages secret in the Roman republic, all was lost; it was no longer possible to direct a populace that sought its own destruction
  3. (countable, Christianity) A prayer, for example a prayer offered for the faithful dead.
    • 1564, Pope Pius IV (unknown translator), Creed of Pope Pius IV
      I firmly believe that there is a purgatory, and that the souls therein detained are helped by the suffrages of the faithful.
    • 1969, G. J. Cuming, A history of Anglican liturgy:
      As these holy prayers and suffrages following are set forth of most godly zeal for edifying and stirring of devotion of all true faithful Christian hearts []
    • 2006, John E. Curran, Hamlet, Protestantism, and the Mourning of Contingency: Not to Be, page 86:
      In explaining and defending suffrages for the dead, Catholic argument repeatedly involved the assumption of the importance of time.
  4. (countable, Christianity) A short petition, as those after the creed in matins and evensong.
    • 1904, John Newton McCormick, The litany and the life: a series of studies in the litany ..., page 222:
      Lastly, in this suffrage, we intercede for prisoners and captives; we "remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them."
  5. (uncountable) Aid, intercession.
    • c. 1521, John Skelton, “Speke Parott”:
      Retoricyons and oratours, in freſhe humanyte
      Support parrot, I pray you wt your ſuffrage ornate
      Of confuſe tantum, auoydynge the chekmate
  6. Testimony; attestation; witness; approval.
    • 1707, Francis Atterbury, Sermons and Discourses on Several Subjects and Occasions, volume 2, published 1740, Sermon IV, page 137:
      Lactantius and St. Austin are not afraid to confirm by their suffrage the observation made by the heathen writers, that []
    • a. 1716, Robert South, Sermons Preached Upon Several Occasions, volume 8, published 1744, Sermon XIV, page 412:
      Every miracle is the suffrage of heaven to the truth of a doctrine.
    • 1834, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Francesca Carrara, volume 2, page 66:
      A careful toilette is a perpetual flattery—it shows that you desire to please, and people like that; for we all attach an undue value to our own suffrage.



Related terms[edit]





Borrowed from Latin suffragium (support, vote, right of voting).



suffrage m (plural suffrages)

  1. suffrage (right to vote)
    Synonym: droit de vote
  2. suffrage (prayer)

Derived terms[edit]


  • Romanian: sufragiu

Further reading[edit]