quo·rum | \ˈkwȯr-əm \

Definition of quorum 

1 : a select group

2 : the number (such as a majority) of officers or members of a body that when duly assembled is legally competent to transact business

3 : a Mormon body comprising those in the same grade of priesthood

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Quorum Has a Legal History

In Latin, quorum means "of whom" and is itself the genitive plural of qui, meaning "who." At one time, Latin quorum was used in the wording of the commissions issued to justices of the peace in England. In English, quorum initially referred to the number of justices of the peace who had to be present to constitute a legally sufficient bench. That sense is now rare, but it's not surprising that quorum has come to mean both "a select group" and "the minimum people required in order to conduct business."

Examples of quorum in a Sentence

We need five people to make a quorum.

Recent Examples on the Web

And the council that was created to run the program and oversee the whole initiative is basically defunct, lacking enough appointees to get a quorum for a meeting, if one was called. Alan J. Borsuk, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Borsuk: Wisconsin's ambitious 'Read to Lead' program 6 years later. Are we leading?," 29 June 2018 Another vacancy in September will leave three—barely a quorum but not enough to handle the caseload. Greg Rushford, WSJ, "Trump’s War on the WTO," 4 July 2018 That means a lot of cases, death penalty cases, other cases simply don't get herd because there isn't a quorum. Fox News, "Kellyanne Conway on growing calls to abolish ICE," 30 June 2018 Last week, a sixth member took the oath, which means the committee finally has a quorum. David Hernandez, sandiegouniontribune.com, "National City military advisory board has not met since it was created last year," 27 June 2018 The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved two appointments to the city’s Police Commission, which did not have enough members for a quorum and could not meet. Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle, "SF supes OK two for Police Commission, which now has a quorum," 5 June 2018 Thurmond stood outside the committee room hoping to prevent a quorum by sending away late arrivals. Steve Kurtz, Fox News, "A history of (cry) babies on the Senate floor," 20 Apr. 2018 Some experts in Congressional procedure have suggested a plurality of Democrats could shut down the chamber by denying a quorum—being short enough members to gavel into session. Glenn Fleishman, Fortune, "Trump Says He's Considering Two Women Supreme Court Nominee, Announcement to Come July 9," 29 June 2018 The agency has been effectively dormant since July 2015, lacking a board quorum needed to approve transactions above $10 million. Andrew Ackerman, WSJ, "White House, In Shift, Pushes to Revive U.S. Export-Import Bank," 14 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'quorum.' 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 quorum

1602, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for quorum

Middle English, quorum of justices of the peace, from Latin, of whom, genitive plural of qui who; from the wording of the commission formerly issued to justices of the peace

Middle English, a select number of English justices of the peace formerly required to be present at sessions to constitute a lawful bench, from Latin, of whom, genitive plural of qui who; from the wording of the commission once issued to justices of the peace in England

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Statistics for quorum

Last Updated

8 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for quorum

The first known use of quorum was in 1602

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More Definitions for quorum



Financial Definition of quorum

What It Is

A quorum is the minimum number of directors required to conduct a board meeting. Usually is a quorum is a majority.

How It Works

Let's assume Company XYZ has 10 board members. Its bylaws state that at least six board members must attend each board meeting for the board to conduct business.

A vacancy on the board does not change the number of directors needed for quorum.

Why It Matters

In order to conduct business, a board must have a quorum. This ensures the shareholders' interests are adequately represented.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of quorum

: the smallest number of people who must be present at a meeting in order for decisions to be made


quo·rum | \ˈkwȯr-əm \

Kids Definition of quorum

: the smallest number of people who must be present at a meeting in order for business to be carried on

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quo·rum | \ˈkwōr-əm \

Legal Definition of quorum 

: the number (as a majority) of members or officers that must be present to conduct business lacked a quorum at the meeting of shareholders

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Comments on quorum

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


evasion of direct action or statement

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