noun, often attributive
con·sen·sus | \kən-ˈsen(t)-səs \

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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Synonyms & Antonyms for consensus


accord, agreement, concurrence, concurrency, unanimity, unison


conflict, disagreement

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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

For now, there is no consensus or even a leading candidate to challenge Ms. Pelosi. Nicholas Fandos, New York Times, "Republicans and Democrats Face Leadership Struggles as House Returns," 8 July 2018 So, there's just no consensus and there's nothing that's ever going to be done on immigration. Fox News, "GOP delays House vote on 'compromise' immigration bill," 22 June 2018 In the Trump White House, there has been no consensus across the government about how to counter China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea. Jeremy Page, WSJ, "American Military Aircraft Targeted By Lasers in Pacific Ocean, U.S. Officials Say," 21 June 2018 There is no consensus as to what the Kings will do with the second overall pick. Jason Jones, sacbee, "With the second pick in the 2018 NBA draft, the Sacramento Kings will take ...," 20 June 2018 There is no consensus on what these drills should look like, but several states, including Missouri, require shooting simulations with police officers. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "America’s gun problem, in one disturbing nursery rhyme," 7 June 2018 If no consensus on the budget can be reached in the next day, lawmakers will have to come back into session before July 1, when a new state budget is scheduled to go into effect. Julia O'donoghue,, "Louisiana Senate approves $540 million tax package," 3 June 2018 These are the issues that tug to the appeal of wider consensus.... Rebecca Beitsch, The Christian Science Monitor, "All US states now allow breastfeeding in public," 13 July 2018 In Israel, too, appointing justices to the Supreme Court involves reaching a degree of consensus. Joanna Slater, Washington Post, "Selecting a Supreme Court justice doesn’t have to be a battle royal. Here’s how other countries do it.," 10 July 2018

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

15 Oct 2018

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

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


to reject or criticize sharply

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