late 14c., "state of being plural," from Old French pluralite (14c.), from Late Latin pluralitatem (nominative pluralitas), from Latin pluralis (see plural). Meaning "fact of there being many, multitude" is from mid-15c. Church sense of "holding of two or more offices concurrently" is from mid-14c. Meaning "greater number, more than half" is from 1570s but is etymologically improper, perhaps modeled on majority. U.S. sense of "excess of votes over rival candidate(s)," especially when none has an absolute majority, is from 1828.