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

The Nevada Republican Party was expected to hold a vote on possibly changing its rules to allow a bypass of its presidential nominating caucuses in 2020 and endorse Trump outright. Meg Kinnard, Anchorage Daily News, "S. Carolina, Kansas Republicans scrap 2020 presidential preference votes to block Trump challengers," 7 Sep. 2019 In September, Nevada’s Republican Party will consider bypassing its 2020 presidential nominating caucuses and instead have governing members endorse Trump, preempting all primary challenges. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Trump seeks to avoid primary challenge and repeat of history," 26 Aug. 2019 The sheer volume of visiting contenders signaled a new phase of the campaign, ending the get-to-know-you period and beginning a six-month sprint to the Iowa caucuses. Thomas Beaumont, chicagotribune.com, "Elizabeth Warren’s warm welcome at Iowa State Fair a warning to other Democrats running for president: ‘Her campaign is hot’," 12 Aug. 2019 Nowhere is that more apparent than the state fairgrounds this week in Iowa, home to the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses. Lisa Lerer, New York Times, "Can Anyone Catch Joe Biden?," 9 Aug. 2019 The two ran from room to room, making their case to the different constituency caucuses. Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press, "Dana Nessel wins Michigan Democratic Party endorsement for attorney general," 15 Apr. 2018 The House goes to caucus while the Senate starts voting on its first batch of conference committee bills, playing catch up with the House. Arika Herron, Indianapolis Star, "'Worse than the sausage factory.' A minute-by-minute look at how the Indiana legislature came to a wild close," 16 Mar. 2018 The inspector general’s findings came out Wednesday, the day after House Speaker Michael Madigan’s office released an outside report detailing bully, intimidation and harassment within the speaker’s office and his Democratic caucus. Dan Petrella, chicagotribune.com, "Official once in line to head troubled state Veterans’ Affairs department made inappropriate sexual comments and used racial slurs, report finds," 22 Aug. 2019 Begich said his caucus remains concerned about Dunleavy vetoes. Washington Post, "Alaska governor OKs smaller oil-wealth check for now," 20 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

David Kitsis, a retired telephone technician, caucused for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Eren Orbey, The New Yorker, "How Iowans Greeted Kamala Harris After Her Debate Breakthrough," 6 July 2019 For years, the state Assembly has been under the control of Democrats, but in the Senate, the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), a small group of conservative Democrats, caucused with Republicans, effectively giving Republicans control. David Roberts, Vox, "New York just passed the most ambitious climate target in the country," 20 June 2019 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

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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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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