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

Because the consensus among experts is that PCOS has no cure, researchers focus on treatment. Mary Claire Lagroue, SELF, "Why Is PCOS Still So Hard for Doctors to Understand?," 12 Sep. 2019 Despite lots of uncertainty, the consensus in the investment community is increasingly that Britain will not leave the EU on October 31, and the country will instead hold an election before the end of the year. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "Big Tech's antitrust reckoning has arrived," 9 Sep. 2019 The consensus is that once-skittish coyotes seem to be encroaching upon homesteads and attacking pets, even in the presence of their human owners. Sara Cardine, La Cañada Valley Sun, "Coyote encounters too close for some La Cañada residents, pet owners," 5 Sep. 2019 The consensus is that the Spurs’ Becky Hammon, the first female full-time assistant coach, will be the one to break through. Los Angeles Times, "Column: It’s long past time for a woman to be an NBA head coach," 1 Sep. 2019 The consensus with the Browns has been the offensive line could be the thing that holds them back. Dan Labbe,, "Browns starting defensive line delivers against Buccaneers: Dan Labbe’s instant observations," 23 Aug. 2019 When Aparium, another brand that focuses on cities beyond the Big Three, opened the decidedly urban Foundation inside an old firehouse, the consensus was downtown Detroit had officially come back. Erin Florio, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why Hotels in the U.S. Are Better Than Ever," 23 Aug. 2019 Even in the early rumors for what’s expected in September, the consensus so far has been an iPhone with four cameras instead of two, and Apple Watches that come in titanium. Mike Murphy, Quartz, "When is Apple going to release something more than a slightly nicer iPhone?," 21 Aug. 2019 And while there hasn't been confirmation as to whether or not the two are actually dating, the consensus is in and, either way, Twitter ships the relationship. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "It Sure Seems Like Ariana Grande is Dating Her “Boyfriend” Collaborator Mikey Foster," 5 Aug. 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

17 Sep 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

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


concealment of treason or felony

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