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

On the other hand, there doesn’t appear to be much difference among the six or seven players expected to be drafted after consensus top two picks Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko. Jimmy Greenfield,, "The wait to discover the No. 3 pick is nearly over for Blackhawks fans. Their reward? More waiting.," 21 June 2019 Exor has paid the family more than €400 million in regular annual dividends since 2009, something that has helped Mr. Elkann achieve consensus among his relatives. Eric Sylvers, WSJ, "Fiat Chrysler’s Elkann Keeps Family Support in Wake of Busted Merger Talks," 20 June 2019 This nation cannot function without generating consensus. Alex Pareene, The New Republic, "In search of the Democratic Party's fighting spirit," 20 June 2019 The consensus appears to be nothing, even as Siakam, now a starter and elite two-way player, is expected to be named the NBA's Most Improved Player for 2018-19. J. Michael, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Pacers making a good draft choice goes beyond what is seen in college games," 19 June 2019 The Portland Trail Blazers own the 25th pick in Thursday’s draft with little consensus on which direction the Western Conference finalists will head. Sean Meagher | The Oregonian/oregonlive,, "NBA mock drafts 2019: Who will the Portland Trail Blazers pick at No. 25?," 19 June 2019 Successful democratic consolidation in Europe was also built on a social democratic consensus that committed the democratic state to tempering capitalism and protecting citizens from its most destabilizing and destructive consequences. Sheri Berman, Vox, "The development and decay of democracy," 18 June 2019 Although the Chinese lost the battle, historical consensus describes the warehouse episode as a vital morale booster to Chinese forces in the grinding war with Imperial Japan. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, "Chinese Industry On Edge After "Depressing" Censorship of Shanghai Festival's Opening Film," 15 June 2019 Serious conflicts broke out…We have to take into account the prevailing consensus. Tripti Lahiri, Quartz, "Hong Kong has pulled off an amazing win against a dire threat to its freedoms," 15 June 2019

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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Statistics for consensus

Last Updated

25 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for consensus

The first known use of consensus was in 1843

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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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Comments on consensus

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showing courage and determination

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