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.

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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

In a crowded field, the early-state primaries and caucuses could be won or lost on the margins. NBC News, "Shaking hands is so 2008. This presidential primary has been 'nationalized'.," 17 June 2019 Pelosi and House leadership are trying to throw a bone to the rising number of pro-impeachment Democrats in the caucus by escalating their anti-Trump rhetoric. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "House Leadership Is Looking Flakey," 17 June 2019 Messam has campaigned in all four early primary and caucus states. Anthony Man, sun-sentinel.com, "Presidential candidate Wayne Messam vows to continue campaign despite missing national debate stage in South Florida," 14 June 2019 These could be either national polls or polls of any of the first four primary or caucus states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina). Andrew Prokop, Vox, "The first Democratic debate qualification rules — and controversies — explained," 12 June 2019 Menchaca, Darren Washington, Jeremy Yancey and Carol Ann Seaton filed to run in the caucus. Craig Lyons, Post-Tribune, "Precinct committeemen vote for one of their own to fill Lake County Council seat," 11 June 2019 This year most contenders are taking positions that aim to attract activists who work and vote in early primaries and caucuses—but that could result in landslide defeat in November. Ted Van Dyk, WSJ, "How Democrats Can Avoid Losing," 30 May 2019 Everyone from 2020 contenders to the bad girls' caucus is sounding off on the possibility that the House of Representatives could introduce impeachment proceedings. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "AOC, Elizabeth Warren, and More Democrats Call for Donald Trump's Impeachment After Robert Mueller's Public Remarks," 29 May 2019 The caucuses for the 2020 election don't officially kick off until February 3 of next year, but even this far out, the race is already in full swing. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Julián Castro's Wife Erica Lira Could Be America's Future First Lady," 11 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Barack Obama did not attend the ceremony and went on to win the Iowa caucuses the following year. Musadiq Bidar, CBS News, "Democrats look to test their messages at largest gathering of presidential candidates yet," 7 June 2019 Ocasio-Cortez’s victory party in the Bronx was a demonstration of the rising left wing; Nixon came by, as did Democrats challenging state senators of their own party who had caucused with Republicans. David Weigel, Washington Post, "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: The Democrat who challenged her party’s establishment — and won," 27 June 2018 Democrats still were one vote shy of a majority in the Senate, courtesy of another rouge Democrat from Brooklyn, state Sen. Simcha Felder, who caucused with the Republicans and refused to rejoin the Democrats. Jen Kirby, Vox, "The primary defeat of New York’s “independent Democrats,” explained," 14 Sep. 2018 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

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.

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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

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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

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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

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