con·​sen·​sus kən-ˈsen(t)-səs How to pronounce consensus (audio)
often attributive
: general agreement : unanimity
the consensus of their opinion, based on reports … from the borderJohn Hersey
: the judgment arrived at by most of those concerned
the consensus was to go ahead
: 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 While some Sikhs argue there is widespread support in the diaspora for an independent Sikh state in the subcontinent called Khalistan, others say there is no such consensus. Deepa Bharath, The Christian Science Monitor, 23 Sep. 2023 For 140 years, there’s been a bipartisan consensus that supports a professional, nonpartisan civil service. Norman J. Ornstein, The New Republic, 22 Sep. 2023 These traders don’t have a secret ear into the Fed’s private meetings nor a crystal ball, and yet their consensus predictions have a tremendous track record. Elisabeth Buchwald, CNN, 20 Sep. 2023 The linebackers have been steady as expected, featuring consensus second-team All-American Tommy Eichenberg and multi-year starter Steele Chambers. Stephen Means, cleveland, 16 Sep. 2023 And so far, there’s no consensus on how to use the technology. WIRED, 16 Sep. 2023 Similarly, members of Congress agree that legislation is needed, but there is little consensus on what to do. Mary Clare Jalonick, Fortune, 13 Sep. 2023 Similarly, many members of Congress agree that legislation is needed but there is little consensus. Mary Clare Jalonick and Matt O'Brien, Chicago Tribune, 13 Sep. 2023 In a culture where defying consensus is the dominant value, anything is possible except rebellion. Dan Brooks, New York Times, 12 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'consensus.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Latin, "agreement, concord," from Latin consentīre "to join in feeling, be in agreement, concur in opinion" + -tus, suffix of action nouns — more at consent entry 1

First Known Use

1843, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of consensus was in 1843

Dictionary Entries Near consensus

Cite this Entry

“Consensus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


con·​sen·​sus kən-ˈsen(t)-səs How to pronounce consensus (audio)
plural consensuses
: general agreement
the consensus of opinion
: the judgment arrived at by most of those concerned
the consensus was to go ahead

More from Merriam-Webster on consensus

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