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 Holmgren, who is the consensus No. 1 prospect in the country, will lead the Redhawks (20-2) against DeLaSalle (15-5) in the Class 3A boys' basketball state tournament semifinals on Friday at 3 p.m. Jeff Day, Star Tribune, "Chet Holmgren named Wootten National Player of the Year for boys' basketball," 1 Apr. 2021 Franco, the consensus top prospect in baseball turns 20 on March 1 and still hasn't appeared in a game above Class A, but is so impressive in the minors that the Rays call him up down the stretch. Jesse Yomtov, USA TODAY, "Bold predictions for the 2021 MLB season," 31 Mar. 2021 At Harvard-Westlake, the 6-foot-6 shooting guard was a consensus five-star prospect in the class of 2020. Dylan Hernández Columnist, Los Angeles Times, "Column: There’s a reason the Bruins are brimming with confidence in the NCAA tournament: They believe," 21 Mar. 2021 Oats’ team was undersized and squaring off against a consensus first-team All-American in 6-foot-11 Wildcats center Deandre Ayton, who became the NBA’s No. 1 overall pick that summer. Mike Rodak |, al, "NCAA tournament was once classroom math lesson for Nate Oats," 19 Mar. 2021 McDonogh, which entered last season as the nation’s consensus No. 1 team, was one of four A Conference teams that entered 2020 nationally ranked (along with St. Paul’s, Notre Dame Prep and Archbishop Spalding). Rich Scherr,, "“We’ll never take a game for granted anymore.” IAAM teams enthused about return of lacrosse," 17 Mar. 2021 However, the 20-year-old – his birthday was Monday — switch-hitter is considered the consensus top prospect in the game. John Perrotto, Forbes, "Rays’ Wander Franco Among Top MLB Prospects To Watch This Spring," 2 Mar. 2021 Hampton, 19, was a consensus five-star recruit in the 2020 recruiting class before reclassifying, graduating a year early and choosing to turn professional and play overseas, rather than at one of the top college programs that courted him. Dallas News, "Nuggets rookie R.J. Hampton enters NBA COVID-19 protocols," 1 Mar. 2021 Fudd, the consensus No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2021 who signed with UConn in November, watched as her future Huskies teammates clawed ahead in the fourth quarter before Tennessee cut the deficit to two with a minute to play. Alexa Philippou,, "UConn’s Paige Bueckers has taken the college basketball world by storm; just wait until best friend Azzi Fudd joins her next season," 23 Feb. 2021

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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Time Traveler for consensus

Time Traveler

The first known use of consensus was in 1843

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Statistics for consensus

Last Updated

14 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Consensus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

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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

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