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

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 Central to solving most issues affecting our education system is the ability to share information, build a consensus and partner for the benefit of the student, teachers, and parents. Baltimore Sun, 17 May 2022 Adjusted earnings per share were $1.30, missing the consensus forecast from analysts of about $1.48, according to FactSet. Sarah Nassauer, WSJ, 17 May 2022 The consensus statement listed several areas that the groups agreed need fixing. Michelle Andrews, Fortune, 16 May 2022 But rather than affirming that consensus, recent developments could now fracture and muddy it, with important ramifications for all social media users. Brian Fung, CNN, 16 May 2022 The video game publisher reported net revenue of $930.0 million, up from $839.4 million in last year’s fourth quarter and above the Wall Street consensus. Caitlin Huston, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 May 2022 Biden knows that finding consensus with ASEAN members on the Russian invasion could prove to be difficult. Aamer Madhani, ajc, 13 May 2022 But a consensus about future outcomes doesn’t mean certainty about future outcomes. Zachary Karabell, Time, 13 May 2022 The company reported a quarterly loss of $1.43 per share, just under the $1.44 per share consensus estimate from Refinitiv. Harold Maass, The Week, 12 May 2022 See More

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.

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near consensus



consensus of opinion

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for consensus

Last Updated

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Consensus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on consensus

Nglish: Translation of consensus for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of consensus for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about consensus


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Color

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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