Definition of referendum noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//ˌrefəˈrendəm//
; NAmE NAmE//ˌrefəˈrendəm//
(pl. referendums, referenda
BrE BrE//ˌrefəˈrendə//
; NAmE NAmE//ˌrefəˈrendə//
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[countable, uncountable] referendum (on something) an occasion when all the people of a country can vote on an important issue Switzerland decided to hold a referendum on joining the EU. The changes were approved by referendum. Wordfindercandidate, constituency, contest, democracy, election, majority, manifesto, poll, referendum, swing vote CollocationsVoting in electionsRunning for election conduct/​hold an election/​a referendum (especially North American English) run for office/​election/​governor/​mayor/​president/​the White House (especially British English) stand for election/​office/​Parliament/​the Labour Party/​a second term hold/​call/​contest a general/​national election launch/​run a presidential election campaign support/​back a candidate sway/​convince/​persuade voters/​the electorate appeal to/​attract/​woo/​target (North American English) swing voters/(British English) floating voters fix/​rig/​steal an election/​the voteVoting go to/​be turned away from (especially British English) a polling station/(North American English) a polling place cast a/​your vote/​ballot (for somebody) vote for the Conservative candidate/​the Democratic party mark/​spoil your ballot paper count (British English) the postal votes/(especially North American English) the absentee ballots go to/​be defeated at the ballot box get/​win/​receive/​lose votes get/​win (60% of) the popular/​black/​Hispanic/​Latino/​Muslim vote win the election/(in the US) the primaries/​a seat in Parliament/​a majority/​power lose an election/​the vote/​your majority/​your seat win/​come to power in a landslide (victory) (= with many more votes than any other party) elect/​re-elect somebody (as) mayor/​president/​an MP/​senator/​congressman/​congresswomanTaking power be sworn into office/​in as president take/​administer (in the US) the oath of office swear/​take (in the UK) an/​the oath of allegiance give/​deliver (in the US) the president’s inaugural address take/​enter/​hold/​leave office appoint somebody (as) ambassador/​governor/​judge/​minister form a government/​a cabinet serve two terms as prime minister/​in office Synonymselectionvote poll referendum ballotThese are all words for an event in which people choose a representative or decide something by voting.election an occasion on which people officially choose a political representative or government by voting:Who did you vote for in the last election?vote an occasion on which a group of people vote for somebody/​something:They took a vote on who should go first.poll (journalism) the process of voting in an election:They suffered a defeat at the polls.referendum an occasion on which all the adults in a country can vote on a particular issueballot the system of voting by marking an election paper, especially in secret; an occasion on which a vote is held:The leader will be chosen by secret ballot. Ballot is usually used about a vote within an organization rather than an occasion on which the public vote.Patterns a national/​local election/​vote/​poll/​referendum/​ballot to have/​hold/​conduct a(n) election/​vote/​poll/​referendum/​ballot Word Originmid 19th cent.: from Latin, gerund (‘referring’), or neuter gerundive (‘something to be brought back or referred’) of referre ‘carry back’, from re- ‘back’ + ferre ‘bring’.Extra examples California voters passed a referendum allocating $22 billion for school facilities. The Democrats rejected the referendum proposal. The agreement was approved in a referendum. The group called for a referendum on the death penalty. The issue will be decided in a national referendum. The president called a referendum that he hoped would confirm him in power. The president won a referendum on his rule. The proposals were put to a referendum. The referendum will be held on July 14th. The unions urged people to boycott the referendum. UN monitors declared the referendum fair. a new constitution adopted by referendum At times the referendum campaign became quite nasty. Referendums are most often held to decide major changes to the constitution. The president called a referendum on the new divorce laws.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: referendum