What is the word for subjects (of a monarch or ruler) when regarded as a single entity?

E.g. "The role of the citizenry in civic life"

E.g. "The howl of the _____ under oppression"

Edit To my understanding, a 'citizen' is an individual person, 'citizens' a number of them, and a 'citizenry' a conceptual singular actor directed by popular will. Since individuals living under particular constitutional arrangements might be designated subjects but not citizens, is there a word that describes a collective entity that is similar to a citizenry but composed of people with the status of subject?

Edit Evidence of research. I found no suitable matches for intuitively-composed derivatives of 'subject' (e.g. 'subjectry', 'subjecture', 'subjecturate') using a popular Internet search tool, nor amongst words related to 'subject' as listed by some word reference tools.

  • 3
    If you want a collective noun, consider populace or population — although these don't capture the relationship to a ruler.  Or you could steal a line from the United States Declaration of Independence and call them the governed. Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 0:36
  • This question lacks evidence of research. For help asking a good question please see the help center.
    – MetaEd
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 22:40
  • @Scott 'Populace' is a lovely suggestion in lieu of a correct term -- thank you. I think 'the governed' is improved upon by 'the subjugated' as this does capture that relationship, but both invoke in me a collection of individuals rather than a single entity.
    – Nik Gibbs
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 22:54
  • @MετάEd Duly included since you took the trouble to note, although I don't see how a description of my efforts improves the quality of the question in this instance.
    – Nik Gibbs
    Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 1:37
  • Here's how: "Sharing your research helps everyone. Tell us what you found and why it didn’t meet your needs. This demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to try to help yourself, it saves us from reiterating obvious answers, and above all, it helps you get a more specific and relevant answer!" (from the help center)
    – MetaEd
    Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 16:28

2 Answers 2


I would just use subjects to refer to the collective. "The role of her subjects; the role of the empire's subjects." I don't know of a singular noun that means the same thing (and subjects works fine in that sentence).
I would also use "citizens" over "citizenry" though.

  • I suspect this may be the correct answer. Though are not citizens and their citizenry different things?
    – Nik Gibbs
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 23:14

Peasantry is the closest thing I can think of, but its more specific to the time in England's history when there a set of people called the nobility (or landed nobility) who ruled, protected, and lived off of the peasantry.

In this case, it means peasants collectively.

  • If the Queen starting referring to her subjects as "my loyal peasantry" there would probably be a general outcry of a magnitude not seen since 1649. Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 0:15

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