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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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 general consensus seems to be that Taylor Swift wrote it about Jake Gyllenhaal, who CHEATED on her!!!, "Is Taylor Swift's Red Hair In "Babe" Low-key Shade?," 10 June 2018 That was the general consensus from a panel of biotech experts who spoke Monday at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles — a commingling of Wall Street titans, policy wonks, industry leaders, and Hollywood elites. Meghana Keshavan, STAT, "Sign up for our Cancer Briefing newsletter," 1 May 2018 The general consensus was that public service should cover expenses but not be a money-maker. Ryan Santistevan, azcentral, "Gilbert cuts politicians' pay, but what is the going rate for city officials in Arizona?," 17 Apr. 2018 The general consensus is that Maher, despite possessing a very passionate and loyal following that has propelled him to variety noms in 12 of the last 13 years, is the 2017 nominee most in danger of losing his spot in 2018. Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "Emmys: Battle Among Late-Night Talk Hosts Should Make for Morning's Most Suspenseful Reveal," 11 July 2018 There are some debates around the edges about just how much electrification is practical—maybe not everything—but the consensus is mighty broad. Nathanael Johnson, WIRED, "Where Can Climate Activists Find Common Ground?," 9 July 2018 The overwhelming consensus in the research community is that spanking does not work, not for any of the purposes claimed for it. David Roberts, Vox, "Please don’t spank your kids," 3 July 2018 However, the general consensus on his last three projects is that less is sticking than usual. Patrick Lyons, Billboard, "Shrinking Drake's 25-Track 'Scorpion' Into a More Digestible 13-Track Album," 2 July 2018 The consensus was that the power of tax cuts will offset rising interest rates and trade barriers to prolong a growth streak that’s already long by historical standards. Mark Trumbull, The Christian Science Monitor, "Post-crisis banking rules: now altered but not undone," 30 June 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

12 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for consensus

The first known use of consensus was in 1843

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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 clear from alleged fault or guilt

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