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 Jayapal’s continued influence in D.C. depends on her ability to convince her caucus that compromise and incremental gains can sometimes be the best way forward–and on her success at making that true. Abigail Abrams, Time, "Representative Pramila Jayapal on How She is Pushing Biden to Be More Progressive and 'Creating the Tipping Point' for Change," 2 Apr. 2021 In a prerecorded response to Walz's speech, Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka reiterated that tax increases are off the table for his caucus. Briana Bierschbach, Star Tribune, "Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz says 'normalcy is on the horizon' in State of the State address," 29 Mar. 2021 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday dismissed a move by nearly one-third of her Democratic caucus to expel freshman Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene. Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner, "Pelosi rejects move by Democrats to expel Marjorie Taylor Greene," 19 Mar. 2021 Two other Republicans, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), a staunch Trump ally, and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), a libertarian-leaning Republican who often breaks with his caucus on foreign policy issues, also voted no. Andrew Solender, Forbes, "14 House Republicans Vote Against Condemning Myanmar Military Coup," 19 Mar. 2021 DeLauro, who took over the Appropriations Committee in January, has spent months building up goodwill within her caucus and among Republicans on the panel. Paul Kane, Anchorage Daily News, "After a decade, congressional earmarks are back - with some strings attached," 13 Mar. 2021 In the House, Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R., La.) said his caucus met this week to discuss earmarking, and conversations continue. Lindsay Wise, WSJ, "Democrats Embrace Earmarks Again as Bridge to Skeptical Republicans," 13 Mar. 2021 One Senate Republican said that his caucus’ first 2021 walkout has already paid off. oregonlive, "Why do Oregon lawmakers, alone in the nation, use walkouts as a repeated tactic? Because they work," 13 Mar. 2021 City Engineer Ed Piatak told City Council at its March 9 caucus the Wedo Park basin would be constantly wet and could become an attractive water feature with a walking trail. Beth Mlady, cleveland, "Stormwater basins could ease Brook Park flooding, study shows," 12 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Since the independents caucus with the Democrats, Democrats control the chamber. Dallas News, "Ineffective impeachment process allows Donald Trump to elude accountability for Capitol riot," 15 Feb. 2021 The Senate is split 50-50, with Democrats and the two independents who caucus with them having a tiebreaker in Vice President Kamala Harris. Haley Victory Smith, Washington Examiner, "GOP senator calls $1.9 trillion coronavirus spending bill an 'orgy of pork'," 4 Mar. 2021 Passage is possible if the 48 Democrats and two independents who caucus with them all vote for it, with a tie-breaking assist from Harris. oregonlive, "After some infighting, Democrats agree to move ahead on COVID relief bill," 6 Mar. 2021 Passage is possible if the 48 Democrats and two independents who caucus with them all vote for it, with a tie-breaking assist from Vice President Kamala Harris. Sarah D. Wire, Los Angeles Times, "Senate Democrats cut weekly unemployment supplement to $300," 5 Mar. 2021 All 48 Democrats, including Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, both D-Mich., voted in favor of her nomination as did the two independent senators who caucus with the Democrats, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, "Jennifer Granholm confirmed as energy secretary in bipartisan Senate vote," 26 Feb. 2021 And for that to work, Biden has to keep all 50 senators who caucus with Democrats onside. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Republicans answer Biden call for cuts to COVID-19 spending bill — but is he listening?," 24 Feb. 2021 Due to the wins by Ossoff and Warnock, Democrats and the two independent senators who caucus with them have a 50-50 split in the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris representing a tie-breaking vote. Michael Ruiz, Fox News, "Georgia voters enraged after Democrats promise of '$2,000 checks' becomes $1,400," 21 Jan. 2021 The Senate now has 50 Republican senators and 48 members who caucus with Democrats. Anne Godlasky, USA TODAY, "Politics updates: Donald Trump expected to sign coronavirus stimulus bill," 22 Dec. 2020

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

1800, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1808, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for caucus

Noun

origin unknown

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Last Updated

7 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Caucus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/caucus. Accessed 15 Apr. 2021.

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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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Comments on caucus

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