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First attested in 1822, from Ancient Greek δημοτικός (dēmotikós, common), from δημότης (dēmótēs, commoner), from δῆμος (dêmos, the common people).



demotic (not comparable)

  1. Of or for the common people.
    • 2014 March 1, Rupert Christiansen, “English translations rarely sing”, in The Daily Telegraph (Review), page R19:
      Anything grandiose or historically based tends to sound flat and banal when it reaches English, partly because translators get stuck between contradictory imperatives: juggling fidelity to the original sense with what is vocally viable, they tend to resort to a genteel fustian which lacks either poetic resonance or demotic realism, adding to a sense of artificiality rather than enhancing credibility.
  2. Of, relating to, or written in the vulgar form of ancient Egyptian hieratic writing.
    demotic script is a simplified, cursive form of hieroglyphs used in ancient Egypt.
  3. Of, relating to, or written in the form of modern vernacular Greek.
    demotic Greek


  • (of the vulgar form of hieratic writing): enchorial



demotic (plural demotics)

  1. (linguistics) Language as spoken or written by the common people.
    • 2010, John C. Wells, accents map
      Note the intrusion into British demotic (“me and Cheryl were having”) of the valley-girl quotative be, like.

Derived termsEdit