noun, plural de·moc·ra·cies.
- government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.
- a state having such a form of government: The United States and Canada are democracies.
- a state of society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges.
- political or social equality; democratic spirit.
- the common people of a community as distinguished from any privileged class; the common people with respect to their political power.
noun plural -cies
- government by the people or their elected representatives
- a political or social unit governed ultimately by all its members
- the practice or spirit of social equality
- a social condition of classlessness and equality
- the common people, esp as a political force
n.1570s, from Middle French démocratie (14c.), from Medieval Latin democratia (13c.), from Greek demokratia “popular government,” from demos “common people,” originally “district” (see demotic), + kratos “rule, strength” (see -cracy). Democracy implies that the man must take the responsibility for choosing his rulers and representatives, and for the maintenance of his own ‘rights’ against the possible and probable encroachments of the government which he has sanctioned to act for him in public matters. [Ezra Pound, “ABC of Economics,” 1933] A system of government in which power is vested in the people, who rule either directly or through freely elected representatives.