Definition of republic in English:

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Pronunciation: /rəˈpəblik/


1A state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch.
Example sentences
  • That was a nice long discussion, comparing monarchies, democracies, republics, oligarchies, and all the different systems of government there were.
  • It left slavery untouched until the Civil War but it put in place a representative republic with basic rights for its citizens.
  • To recognize the rights of various nations the Soviets endorsed policies aimed at establishing independent republics for each nationality within the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic.
1.1 archaic A group with a certain equality between its members.


Late 16th century: from French république, from Latin respublica, from res 'entity, concern' + publicus 'of the people, public'.

  • public from Late Middle English:

    The root of public, Latin publicus, is shared by publish (Middle English) ‘to make public’ and republic (late 16th century) Latin res public ‘the business of the people’, and is related to people. People have been able to go to a public house for a drink since the 1650s, and to the abbreviated pub since around 1800. In Australia they could also stay the night—there a pub can also be a hotel. The first publicans were collectors of taxes (collectors of the public revenue), not sellers of drinks. This explains the disparaging references to them in various biblical passages, such as: ‘And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?’ (Gospel of Matthew). The use of the term to refer to a person who manages a pub dates from the early 18th century. In North America and elsewhere public schools are schools supported by public funds and open to all, and people often wonder why English public schools, which are private, fee-paying, and independent, are so called. In England a public school, a term first recorded in 1580, was originally a grammar school founded for the benefit of the public, as opposed to a private school run for the profit of its owner. Such schools were open to all and took resident students from beyond their local neighbourhood. The passing of the Public Schools Act in 1868 to regulate the large, long-established schools of Eton, Winchester, Westminster, Harrow, Rugby, Charterhouse, Shrewsbury, Merchant Taylors’, and St Paul's, led to the term becoming a prestigious one which was also applied to newer schools. The source of the saying any publicity is good publicity appears to be a passage by Raymond Chandler, in the Black Mask (1933): ‘Rhonda Farr said: “Publicity, darling. Just publicity. Any kind is better than none at all.” ’ An alternative form is there's no such thing as bad publicity.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: re·pub·lic

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