Definition of popular in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpɒpjʊlə/


1Liked or admired by many people or by a particular person or group: she was one of the most popular girls in the school these cheeses are very popular in Europe
More example sentences
  • It's a cross between netball and football, and is popular with Norwegian girls in this country.
  • I was awkward around girls, albeit very popular with them because I could make them laugh.
  • Mardar is a motorcycle courier, popular with the girls for his brooding good looks.
well liked, liked, favoured, in favour, well received, approved, admired, accepted, welcome, sought-after, in demand, desired, wanted;
commercial, marketable, saleable, fashionable, in fashion, in vogue, voguish, all the rage, hot
informal in, cool, big
British informal, dated all the go
2 [attributive] (Of cultural activities or products) intended for or suited to the taste, understanding, or means of the general public rather than specialists or intellectuals: editorials accusing the government of wanting to gag the popular press
More example sentences
  • Moreover, no popular bestseller has been written or translated on this issue.
  • I wonder if this approach is so popular because of intellectual laziness as much as anything else?
  • Not that Home has much hope of appealing to popular taste stuck away on BBC Four, of course.
non-specialist, non-technical, non-professional, amateur, lay, lay person's, general, middle-of-the-road;
accessible, approachable, simplified, plain, simple, easy, straightforward, understandable, readily understood, easy to understand, intelligible;
mass-market, middlebrow, lowbrow, pop, bland, cheap
2.1(Of a belief or attitude) held by the majority of the general public: many adult cats, contrary to popular opinion, dislike milk
More example sentences
  • We have at least established that contrary to popular belief, Yanks do have a sense of humour.
  • There is a popular belief that property is a better investment than shares.
  • In modern drama there is no such thing as the rational counter to wildfire popular beliefs.
widespread, general, common, current, prevalent, prevailing, customary, universal, standard, stock, shared, in circulation, rife;
ordinary, usual, accepted, established, acknowledged, recognized, conventional, orthodox, conformist
3 [attributive] (Of political activity) carried on by the people as a whole rather than restricted to politicians or political parties: a popular revolt against colonial rule
More example sentences
  • The salient reality was the depth of popular antipathy to the political establishment as a whole.
  • I fear that you are the victim of a political party struggling to find popular appeal.
  • The election was held without any great popular enthusiasm for any politician.
mass, general, communal, collective, social, societal, collaborative, group, civil, public, civic;
democratic, representative



Example sentences
  • His manner is honest and straightforward and he is not given to political spin or the flood of trivial popularism which seems to guide much of our media and ‘public opinion’.
  • To pander to popularism would be the death of the Booker.
  • It became a battle between Yeltsin's popularism and Gorbachev's stifling authority.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'prevalent among the general public'): from Latin popularis, from populus 'people'. Sense 1 dates from the early 17th century.

Words that rhyme with popular


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: popu|lar

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