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cau·​cus ˈkȯ-kəs How to pronounce caucus (audio)
: 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


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caucused; caucusing; caucuses

intransitive verb

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

Did you know?

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact origins of caucus, but some scholars think the word may have developed from an Algonquian term for a group of elders, leaders, or advisers. An early example of the word in use comes from John Adams, who in February of 1763 reported that the Boston “caucus club,” a group of politically active city elders, would soon meet and 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 cloud the history of caucus to this day.

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
And the former president also won the U.S. Virgin Islands caucuses on Thursday, trouncing Ms. Haley and capturing 73 percent of the vote. Michael Gold, New York Times, 8 Feb. 2024 The poll was conducted from Jan. 16 to Jan. 22, between the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary. Paolo Confino, Fortune, 7 Feb. 2024 Paul Morigi/Getty Images for MoveOn Trump is currently the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination and won the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, the first two contests of the nomination process. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, 7 Feb. 2024 Trump remains the leading Republican candidate in the 2024 presidential election, having handily defeated his rivals in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary. Rachel Weiner, Washington Post, 6 Feb. 2024 As such, Trump is all but guaranteed to win the caucuses and the state's 26 delegates for the GOP nomination. Alexandra Hutzler, ABC News, 6 Feb. 2024 Trump is holding onto his lead over Nikki Haley in the Republican presidential primaries, and recently won both the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary. Virginia Chamlee, Peoplemag, 6 Feb. 2024 The move was ostensibly meant to give a greater voice to diverse voters in the early stages of the race, compared with caucuses and a primary in overwhelmingly white Iowa and New Hampshire; it was largely viewed as a gift to South Carolina for saving Biden’s 2020 campaign. Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times, 4 Feb. 2024 As polls found voters losing interest in Ron DeSantis, donors were showing his campaign the same thing, new federal campaign finance reports show, leaving him wheezing into the Iowa caucuses and heavily reliant on a super PAC that had already burned through most of its money. Max Greenwood, Miami Herald, 1 Feb. 2024
Negotiations were led by Sens. James Lankford, R-Okla., Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., who caucuses with Democrats. Gillian Brassil, Sacramento Bee, 5 Feb. 2024 There are currently 48 Democrats, plus three independents who caucus with them, giving them a 51-49 majority. Grace Kazarian, CBS News, 3 Feb. 2024 Iowans who agree should caucus for him and not worry about voting strategically — and those who sincerely prefer Haley should do the same for their candidate. Dan McLaughlin, National Review, 15 Jan. 2024 Freezing Iowa caucuses to mark first voting of 2024 election The opening battle of the 2024 presidential election will begin Monday as Iowa's Republican caucuses get underway. Justin Klawans, The Week Us, theweek, 15 Jan. 2024 Former President Donald Trump and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley are the remaining major Republican candidates seeking their party's presidential nomination through the primaries and caucuses that each state holds. Oren Oppenheim, ABC News, 29 Jan. 2024 Full Republican delegate tracker for 2024 primaries and caucuses Here's CBS News' estimate of how many delegates have been allocated to Republican candidates, based on the results of the nominating contests to date. Caitlin Yilek, CBS News, 23 Jan. 2024 No candidate in the modern era of primaries and caucuses with a lead as large as Trump’s has ever lost the nomination. Jay Cost, Washington Examiner, 12 Jan. 2024 Allies of Biden and Trump helped revamp nominating contests to aid the two front-runners Iowa Republicans on Monday will caucus to choose a presidential candidate, but Democrats will start to vote by mail and wait weeks for results. Eliza Collins and John McCormick, WSJ, 9 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'caucus.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



origin unknown

First Known Use


1800, in the meaning defined above


1808, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of caucus was in 1800


Dictionary Entries Near caucus

Cite this Entry

“Caucus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a closed meeting of members of a political party or faction usually to select candidates or decide policy
caucus verb

Legal Definition


cau·​cus ˈkȯ-kəs How to pronounce caucus (audio)
: 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
caucus intransitive verb
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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