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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web The Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board is a key player identifying what employers need and developing a consensus among community leaders to align training with requirements of local employers. Stephen Singer,, "Connecticut needs thousands of skilled workers to build nuclear submarines in coming years. Job training is available for unemployed workers.," 18 Feb. 2021 Now there is growing confidence among economists — though far from a consensus — that lawmakers can mandate sharp increases in the minimum wage without killing large numbers of jobs. Paul Wiseman, ajc, "Biden's $15 wage proposal: Job killer or a boon for workers?," 17 Feb. 2021 Now there is growing confidence among economists — though far from a consensus — that lawmakers can mandate sharp increases in the minimum wage without killing large numbers of jobs. Arkansas Online, "Biden's $15 wage proposal: Job killer or a boon for workers?," 17 Feb. 2021 There is also growing consensus that the World Trade Organization has failed to police some of China’s worst economic offenses, which many in the United States consider the world’s biggest trade challenge today. New York Times, "W.T.O. Set to Gain New Chief, but Deep Issues Remain," 14 Feb. 2021 And remember: Even a new consensus is neither foolproof nor final. D.j. Tice, Star Tribune, "A new consensus on the minimum wage? Yes, but …," 13 Feb. 2021 One area where consensus may be emerging is in public schools, where many parents and districts are eager for a return to in-person instruction. Matthew Perrone,, "Calls grow for US to rely on rapid tests to fight pandemic," 6 Feb. 2021 On the need for bipartisan consensus, Psaki leaned into comments Biden made earlier Friday. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "White House defends Biden weekend jaunt to Delaware," 5 Feb. 2021 Both goals reflect a growing music industry consensus that influencer marketing is here to stay. Tatiana Cirisano, Billboard, "Triller's Josh Richards Invests in Breakr, a New App Linking Artists With Influencers," 2 Feb. 2021

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for consensus

Time Traveler

The first known use of consensus was in 1843

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Statistics for consensus

Last Updated

25 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Consensus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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More Definitions for consensus



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

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