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Is the term "overwhelming majority" popular in English? Plus, what is the difference between it and "vast majority"?

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  • books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – Hot Licks
    May 1 '17 at 23:58
  • (Unfortunately, Ngram does not yet pick up "yuge majority".)
    – Hot Licks
    May 1 '17 at 23:59
  • 1
    Related: Is “vast majority” something to avoid?
    – Laurel
    May 2 '17 at 0:08
  • Roughly: a vast majority is something like 85% or more; an overwhelming majority is around 70% or more.
    – Ricky
    May 2 '17 at 0:21
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    @Ricky I disagree with you there. I believe both Overwhelming and Vast are words that color a meaning far more than a degree of majority. Overwhelmed is a word of emotion in even if used for whatever your definition of size of the majority it means (tiny majority, small majority, large majority, extremely large majority) and "vast" is a word commonly use to express a size beyond measure...vast expanses etc... that flavor the majority to feel like there was an intensity of expression or likeness on top of percentage.
    – Tom22
    May 2 '17 at 0:33
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As adjectives modifying majority, overwhelming and vast are synonymous.

From Dictionary.com, I have bolded the apt meanings:

overwhelming (adjective)

  1. that overwhelms; overpowering: The temptation to despair may become overwhelming.

2. so great as to render resistance or opposition useless: an overwhelming majority.

Vast (adjective)

  1. of very great area or extent; immense: the vast reaches of outer space.

2. of very great size or proportions; huge;enormous: vast piles of rubble left in the wake of the war.

  1. very great in number, quantity, amount, etc.: vast sums of money.

4. very great in degree, intensity, etc.: an artisan of vast skill.

Both overwhelming majority and vast majority are commonly used in the USA to mean a percentage that is much more than a simple majority (more than 50%). How much more than 50% is purely a matter of opinion, not part of the definition.

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