caucus

noun
cau·​cus | \ ˈkȯ-kəs How to pronounce caucus (audio) \

Definition of caucus

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a closed meeting of a group of persons belonging to the same political party or faction usually to select candidates or to decide on policy a presidential caucus also : a group of people united to promote an agreed-upon cause

caucus

verb
caucused; caucusing; caucuses

Definition of caucus (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to meet in or hold a caucus The committee caucused to select the most promising candidates.

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

Noun

In February of 1763, John Adams reported that the Boston caucus club, a group of politically active city elders, would meet in the garret of Tom Dawes to choose Assessors, Collectors, Wardens, Fire Wards, and Representatives. He wrote that at the meetings, those present would smoke tobacco till you [could not] see from one end of the garret to the other. A similarly opaque smoke screen seems to shroud the history of the word caucus. Linguists can see that it is clearly an Americanism; Adams's use is the first known to link the word to such a political meeting. Beyond that, details are uncertain, but some scholars think caucus may have developed from an Algonquian term for a group of elders, leaders, or advisers.

Examples of caucus in a Sentence

Noun

the National Women's Political Caucus

Verb

Democrats caucused last week to choose their candidates.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Leaders have a few ideas about what to do next, including the possibility of a GND caucus in the House (after all, the membership has already mostly identified itself) and continued direct action. David Roberts, Vox, "The Green New Deal, explained," 21 Dec. 2018 The 2018 midterms are barely history, but the next campaign is already in full swing in Iowa, home to the first caucus of the 2020 Democratic presidential nominating campaign. Thomas Beaumont, The Seattle Times, "2020 Democratic contenders already eyeing top staff in Iowa," 21 Nov. 2018 Board of education member Lillian Tanski was selected during a contested Republicans caucus late last week. Peter Marteka, Courant Community, "Barry, Tanski To Face Off For 31st House Seat In Glastonbury," 30 May 2018 In addition to the GOP caucus, Parker chairs the House Committee on Investments and Financial Services. Patrick Svitek, star-telegram, "Tan Parker is third Republican to file for Texas House Speaker | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 8 Mar. 2018 But een with just 51 Republicans in the Senate — and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., unwell and out of Washington — a cohesive Republican caucus could limit Democrats influence. NBC News, "McConnell went 'nuclear' to confirm Gorsuch. But Democrats changed Senate filibuster rules first.," 28 June 2018 Democratic leaders will hold a caucus this weekend to review candidates to fill the vacancy and Kuiper was the only candidate to put his name in for the County Council seat. Craig Lyons, Post-Tribune, "Former Lowell councilman seeking County Council seat," 27 June 2018 When McCaskill began choking during a Democratic caucus lunch Thursday, Sen. Joe Manchin successfully gave McCaskill the Heimlich maneuver after two others had failed. Lauren Fox, kansascity, "Fellow Democrat gives McCaskill Heimlich maneuver and a cracked rib," 25 June 2018 Split on the right The CDU and the CSU are sister parties, with a joint parliamentary caucus and electoral program. Patrick Donahue, Bloomberg.com, "Five Ways Merkel’s Coalition Crisis Could Blow Up or Blow Over," 15 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats—comes as the nation’s largest companies have repurchased shares at a record pace that analysts attribute... Michael Wursthorn, WSJ, "Record Stock Buybacks Draw Fire From Democratic Presidential Hopefuls," 4 Feb. 2019 The 63-seat Senate is currently controlled by 31 Republicans and a rogue Democrat from Brooklyn who caucuses with the GOP. Jimmy Vielkind, WSJ, "Cuomo Stumps for Democrats in His Moderate Mold," 16 Oct. 2018 McCain reportedly wrote that his advisers warned him against picking her a vice-presidential candidate who caucused with Democrats. Amy Lieu, Fox News, "Sarah Palin responds to McCain's regrets revealed in new book," 11 May 2018 My guests this morning, Republican Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma and Independent Senator Angus King of Maine, who caucuses with the Democrats. NBC News, "Meet the Press - June 24, 2018," 24 June 2018 Senator Simcha Felder of Brooklyn, a Democrat who caucuses with the Republicans, has also pushed to tie the armed-guards provision to the reauthorization of speed-safety cameras outside scores of New York City schools. New York Times, "Legislative Year Ends on Wednesday, Likely With a Whimper," 17 June 2018 Democrats also retained two state Senate seats, giving the party a 32-to-31 numerical advantage over Republicans in the state’s upper house, though one Democrat who caucuses with Republicans will continue to deny them a working majority. David Weigel, Washington Post, "Democrats flip 40th legislative race of Trump era, this time in New York," 25 Apr. 2018 Sanders, a Vermont independent who caucuses with Democrats, endorsed Brent Welder for the Democratic nomination in Kansas’ 3rd congressional district. Bryan Lowry, kansascity, "Bernie Sanders wades into race against Yoder, endorses former delegate Welder," 25 June 2018 The House adjourned Wednesday morning and, after a round of committee hearings, House Republicans began caucusing outside of the Capitol to discuss the report. Anchorage Daily News, "Woman testifies that Greitens groped and hit her; Missouri governor blasts ‘lies’ and ‘tabloid trash’," 12 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'caucus.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of caucus

Noun

1760, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1788, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for caucus

Noun

origin unknown

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for caucus

caucus

noun

English Language Learners Definition of caucus

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a meeting of members of a political party for the purpose of choosing candidates for an election
: a group of people (such as members of the U.S. Congress) who meet to discuss a particular issue or to work together for a shared, usually political goal

caucus

verb

English Language Learners Definition of caucus (Entry 2 of 2)

US : to meet in a caucus

caucus

noun
cau·​cus | \ ˈkȯ-kəs How to pronounce caucus (audio) \

Legal Definition of caucus

: a closed meeting of a group of persons belonging to the same political party or faction usually to select candidates or to decide on policy

Other Words from caucus

caucus intransitive verb

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on caucus

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with caucus

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for caucus

Spanish Central: Translation of caucus

Nglish: Translation of caucus for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of caucus for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about caucus

Comments on caucus

What made you want to look up caucus? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

likely to have or produce good results

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!