SUFFRAGE (Lat. su/ragium), the right or the exercise of the right of voting in political affairs; in a more general sense, an expression of opinion, assent or approval; in ecclesiastical use, the short intercessory prayers in litanies spoken or sung by the people as distinguished from those of the priest or minister. (See REPRESENTATION; VOTE AND VOTING, and REGISTRATION: and, for the Women's Suffrage Movement, WOMEN: Political Rights.) The etymology of the Latin word su/ragium has been much discussed. It is usually referred to sub- and the root of frangere, to break, and its original meaning must thus have been a piece of broken tile or a potsherd on which the names or initials of the candidates were inscribed and used as a voting tablet or labella. There is, however, no direct evidence that this was ever the practice in the case of voting upon legislation in the assembly (see W. Corssen, Ueber Aussprache, etc., der Lateinischen Sprache, i. 397, and Mommsen, Romische Geschichte, ili. 412 n. i.).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)