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Full age; legal age; age at which a person is no longer a minor. The age at which, by law, a person is capable of being legally responsible for all of his or her acts (e.g. contractual obligations), and is entitled to the management of his or her own affairs and to the enjoyment of civic rights (e.g. right to vote). The opposite of minority. Also the status of a person who is a major in age.

The greater number. The number greater than half of any total.

The common-law age of majority is twenty-one although state legislatures may change this age by statute. Infants reach the age of majority on the first moment of the day preceding their twenty-first birthday. Minority is the period of time when a child is an infant.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


n. 1) the age when a person can exercise all normal legal rights, including contracting and voting. It is 18 for most purposes, but there are rights such as drinking alcoholic beverages which vary and may require greater age. 2) 50 percent, plus one of votes cast. (See: minority, infancy, child)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


the age when a person attains full legal capacity, even if there may still be many things that cannot be done legally or, indeed, many things now in the UK which can be done younger, especially at 16 years. In the UK at the moment the age of majority is 18 years.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

MAJORITY, persons. The state or condition of a person who has arrived at full age. He is then said to be a major, in opposition to minor, which is his condition during infancy.

MAJORITY, government. The greater number of the voters; though in another sense, it means the greater number of votes given in which sense it is a mere plurality. (q.v.)
     2. In every well regulated society, the majority has always claimed and exercised the right to govern the whole society, in the manner pointed out by the fundamental laws and the minority are bound, whether they have assented or not, for the obvious reason that opposite wills cannot prevail at the same time, in the same society, on the same subject. 1 Tuck. Bl. Com. App. 168, 172; 9 Dane's Ab. 37 to 43; 1 Story, Const. Sec. 330.
     3. As to the rights of the majority of part owners of vessels, vide 3 Kent, Com. 114 et seq. As to the majority of a church, vide 16 Mass. 488.
     4. In the absence of all stipulations, the general rule in partnerships is, that each partner has an equal voice, and a majority acting bonafide, have the right to manage the partnership concerns, and dispose of the partnership property, notwithstanding the dissent of the minority; but in every case when the minority have a right to give an opinion, they ought to be notified. 2 Bouv. Inst. n. 1954.
     5. As to the majorities of companies or corporations, see Angel, Corp. 48, et seq.; 3 M. R. 495. Vide, generally, Rutherf. Inst. 249; 9 Serg. & Rawle, 99; Bro. Corporation, pl. 63; 15 Vin. Abr. 183, 184; and the article Authority; Plurality; Quorum.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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VATICAN CITY -- In a decision published June 26, Pope Benedict XVI said that popes must always be elected by a two-thirds majority of eligible Catholic cardinals.