See also: Demotic



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.
    Synonyms: colloquial, informal, popular, vernacular
    Antonym: formal
    demotic writing style
    • 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.
    • 2016 October 31, Robert McCrum, “The 100 best nonfiction books: No 40 – The Road to Oxiana by Robert Byron (1937)”, in The Guardian[1]:
      An enthusiastic literary critical response ranged from Graham Greene, who admired Byron’s demotic, conversational brilliance, to the rivalrous Evelyn Waugh, who had to concede the book’s high spirits, via the Sunday Times, which linked Byron to his namesake (no relation) and declared him “the last and finest fruit of the insolent humanism of the 18th century”.
  2. Of, relating to, or written in the vulgar form of ancient Egyptian hieratic writing, with simplified, cursive hieroglyphs.
    Synonym: enchorial
  3. Of, relating to, or written in the form of modern vernacular Greek.
    demotic Greek

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Related termsEdit



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.


Further readingEdit