noun, often attributive
con·​sen·​sus | \ kən-ˈsen(t)-səs How to pronounce consensus (audio) \

Definition of consensus

1a : general agreement : unanimity the consensus of their opinion, based on reports … from the border— John Hersey
b : the judgment arrived at by most of those concerned the consensus was to go ahead
2 : group solidarity in sentiment and belief

Keep scrolling for more

Is the phrase consensus of opinion redundant?: Usage Guide

The phrase consensus of opinion, which is not actually redundant (see sense 1a; the sense that takes the phrase is slightly older), has been so often claimed to be a redundancy that many writers avoid it. You are safe in using consensus alone when it is clear you mean consensus of opinion, and most writers in fact do so.

Examples of consensus in a Sentence

Yet despite this and other dust-ups during the convention, the general consensus is that Episcopalians weathered this one with their customary civility intact. — Antonio Ramirez, Commonweal, 12 Sept. 1997 Despite years of debate over the best wine to serve at Thanksgiving, no real consensus has emerged. — Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator, 30 Nov. 1995 Beyond the general goal of sustainability, there was little consensus at the conference on how to get from here to there. — Constance Holden, Science, 6 July 1990 … it is the consensus of opinion that the Iceni in their geographic isolation remained 'Celtic' … — Antonia Fraser, The Warrior Queens, 1988 Everyone on the council seems to understand the need for consensus. There is a lack of consensus among the citizens. The decision was made by consensus.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web None of this may be enough to defeat the Sanders machine or a consensus anti-Sanders candidate. Rick Klein And, ABC News, "The Note: Bloomberg spends and hacks his way into campaign conversation," 14 Feb. 2020 Even for a consensus top-10 preseason baseball team like Arizona State, things happen. Jeff Metcalfe, azcentral, "Freshman walk-on pitcher Danny Marshall to start in center field for ASU baseball season opener," 13 Feb. 2020 Decades of aesthetic, social, and political democratizing have collapsed the redoubts of consensus good taste. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "The In-Your-Face Paintings of Peter Saul," 10 Feb. 2020 That’s because that increasing bearishness will reduce the distance between the consensus view and that of the superbears. Mark Hulbert, WSJ, "Why a Rising ‘Black Swan’ Index Could Be a Sign of Bullishness," 10 Feb. 2020 Mobley opened the season as the consensus No. 1 prospect in his high school class. Connor Letourneau,, "Who could Warriors get with Timberwolves’ 2021 first-round pick?," 10 Feb. 2020 In between, the injury and a season that wasn’t overly impressive statistically eroded his consensus status as a late-first-round pick and made falling all the way into the third round a reality. Eric Hansen, Indianapolis Star, "Notre Dame DE Julian Okwara ready for NFL Scouting Combine," 9 Feb. 2020 The distance report is awash with the noble language of consensus building, but make no mistake — the USGA and R&A have fired the first shot in a war for the future of golf. Eamon Lynch, Golfweek, "Lynch: The USGA's distance report is out, and so begins the battle for golf's future," 4 Feb. 2020 Collins is part of a long tradition of centrist, consensus-building Maine Republicans, including Margaret Chase Smith, Cohen and Olympia Snowe. Author: Griff Witte, Anchorage Daily News, "Republican Sen. Susan Collins finds it’s lonely in the middle," 2 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'consensus.' 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 consensus

1843, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for consensus

Latin, from consentire — see consent entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about consensus

Time Traveler for consensus

Time Traveler

The first known use of consensus was in 1843

See more words from the same year

Statistics for consensus

Last Updated

19 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Consensus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for consensus


How to pronounce consensus (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of consensus

: a general agreement about something : an idea or opinion that is shared by all the people in a group

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on consensus

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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