- The quality or fact of being greater in number, quantity, or importance.
“There was a preponderance of Marvel fans at the comic-con.”
“When we were house hunting, there was a preponderance of new construction homes.”
“I hope there won’t be a preponderance of meat dishes at the buffet and there are a few vegetarian items.”
English, late 17th century
Why this word?
This noun, which describes the state of being more than in quantity or importance, developed in English several centuries ago, through a few different parts of speech. Going back to Middle English in the 1500s, we can see the Latin verb “praeponderāre,” which came into English as the verb “preponder,” meaning “to outweigh in importance.” That quickly turned into the adjective “preponderant,” meaning “greater in importance,” but the noun “preponderance” is the only one of the forms that is still widely used in modern speech. It’s mostly used to describe a greater number or quantity, but the original usage for importance still applies, as in “a preponderance of evidence” in a trial.
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