GC: n

S: EC – (last access 7 November 2018); IND – (last access 8 November 2018).

N: 1. 1847, “a submitting of a question to the voters as a whole” (originally chiefly in reference to Switzerland), from French or German, from Latin referendum “that which must be referred,” literally “thing brought back,” neuter gerundive of referre “to bring or take back”. Referendum is a Latin word, but its modern meaning only dates from the 19th century, when a new constitution adopted by Switzerland stated that the voters could vote directly on certain issues.
2. The principle or practice of submitting to popular vote a measure passed on or proposed by a legislative body or by popular initiative.
3. The referendum power is created by state constitutions and is conferred on the citizens of a state or a local subdivision of the state. Referendum provides the people with a means of expressing their opinion on proposed legislation before it becomes operative as a law. The power of referendum does not permit the people to invalidate a law that is already operative but suspends or annuls a law that has not yet gone into effect. In this sense, referendum is similar to a governor’s Veto power. Also, by referendum the people may reinstate an act that the legislature has expressly repealed.
The referendum, along with the initiative, are the two forms of direct legislation adopted by many states during the direct democracy movement of the early twentieth century. Referendum allows the people to state their opinion on laws that have been enacted by the legislature, and the initiative allows the people to propose their own laws. Thus, in the states that have adopted the initiative and referendum, the people essentially form another branch of the legislature, having the ability both to enact laws and to overturn laws passed by the elected legislature but not yet in effect. An initiative or a referendum passed by the people has the same force and effect as any act of the legislature. A referendum may be challenged on constitutional grounds, on grounds that proper procedures were not followed in the referendum process and election, or on grounds that the referendum or initiative was outside the scope of authority granted by the state constitution. Also, in some states the governor may veto an initiative or referendum.
4. Collocations:

  • Verb + referendum: conduct, hold The referendum will be held on July 14th. | put sth to The proposals were put to a referendum. | call The president called a referendum that he hoped would confirm him in power. | call for, demand, propose The group called for a referendum on the death penalty. | oppose | boycott The unions urged people to boycott the referendum. | declare, organize | be adopted by, be approved by, be confirmed by, be endorsed by a new constitution adopted by referendum.
  • Referendum + verb: show sth A popular referendum showed that the majority of people want reform.
  • Referendum + noun: proposal The Democrats rejected the referendum proposal; campaign, result.
  • Preposition: in a/the referendum: The issue will be decided in a national referendum. referendum on a referendum on a new constitution.
  • Phrases: declare a referendum fair/illegal UN monitors declared the referendum fair. The result/results of a referendum.

5. Cultural Interrelation: We can mention the book Bottle Rocket Hearts written by Zoe Whittall in 2007.

S: 1. MW – (last access 7 November 2018) 2. OED – (last access: 7 November 2018); MW – (las access 7 November 2018); 3. TFD – (last access 7 November 2018); 4. OCD – (last access 7 November 2018). 5. GOODREADS – (last access 7 November 2018).

SYN: public vote, plebiscite, popular vote, ballot, poll. (depending on context)

S: OD – (last access 7 November 2018)

CR: political action