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Today I was searching for a word that I'm fairly certain exists, but I can't find evidence of anywhere. I wanted to refer to a segment of the population, and I used the word "constituency" to describe a specific group of people. Apparently, this word has a specifically political context, e.g. "The senator's constituency voted him back into office."

Is there a word, specifically a word that sounds like constituency or contingency, that describes what I'm looking for? That is to say, a word that describes a segment of the population sans a political context.

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Cohort

Could you be thinking of the word “cohort”? It starts with the letter “C,” and basically describes what you’re thinking of (albeit in a somewhat technical context): a segment of the population sharing some common element. Per Wikipedia:

In statistics, marketing and demography, a cohort is a group of subjects who share a defining characteristic (typically subjects who experienced a common event in a selected time period, such as birth or graduation).

Or, according to Merriam-Webster:

A group of individuals having a statistical factor (as age or class membership) in common in a demographic study.

Community

This seems a little obvious, but it does start with a “C” and end in a “y,” and can describe a certain group within a population (“the medical community,” “the local community,” “the Scrabble-playing community." According to Google’s definition:

A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.

  • +1 for cohort, as you say it starts with the same letter as the two words suggested by OP, and also carries the idea of being a subset somehow from a more mainstream group. – Gary Apr 21 '17 at 5:41
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Demographic

(Oxford)

A particular sector of a population.

‘the drink is popular with a young demographic’

  • I don’t know. That doesn’t seem to have any sonic characteristics in common with the example words suggested in the question, though it is a good fit by meaning. It seems like the person is looking for words with a certain sound or similarity of spelling, not just a given meaning. – Obie 2.0 Apr 21 '17 at 5:30
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    @Obie2.0 True. I answered as think it's the best word to describe the title of the question, and it's also 4 syllables, while the two words the OP mentioned are 4 and 5 syllables, so in terms of syllables there is certainly some similarity. I find sometimes when I remember a word as another word, it's more the syllabic structure I'm remembering than anything else. I think generally when we try to remember words we think we know, we often look for words that we think should sound like certain other words we have remembered, when in fact, they are red herrings. So I ventured to offer this anyway – Gary Apr 21 '17 at 5:39

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