quo·​rum | \ ˈkwȯr-əm How to pronounce quorum (audio) \

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 While the constitution states that Añez didn’t need a congressional vote to assume the presidency, there wasn’t a quorum for a formal debate on accepting Morales' resignation. Fox News, "Bolivia interim president declares 'Bible has returned to the palace' amid growing uncertainty," 13 Nov. 2019 In June, Oregon Republican lawmakers fled the State Capitol so there wouldn’t be the quorum needed to vote on a climate change bill that would have forced companies to adopt technologies to reduce overall pollution. John Temple, The Conversation, "They’re not all racist nut jobs – and 4 other observations about the patriot militia movement," 23 Oct. 2019 But two was a quorum on the three-member committee, so the meeting proceeded. Nanette Asimov, SFChronicle.com, "CCSF Chancellor Rocha makes the case for executive raises amid budget cuts," 19 Sep. 2019 There are still four vacancies, but with five governors, the board now has a quorum for the first time since 2014. BostonGlobe.com, "WASHINGTON — US Postmaster General Megan Brennan plans to retire in January, officials said Wednesday, following months of complaints from President Trump that the Postal Service was losing too much money and should be charging retail giant Amazon more for package delivery.," 17 Oct. 2019 Due to a lack of a quorum, the Ramona Municipal Water District Board of Directors canceled its monthly meeting Aug. 13. Ramona Sentinel, "Water district to hold special board meeting," 19 Aug. 2019 Without at least two Republicans present, the Senate didn’t have a quorum and couldn’t vote on any bills. Ian Lovett, WSJ, "Oregon Republicans Agree to Come Out of Hiding," 28 June 2019 The Federal Election Commission, which enforces campaign finance laws and regulations, recently lost its voting quorum. Michelle Ye Hee Lee, chicagotribune.com, "Andrew Yang’s plan to give 10 families $1,000 a month drew giggles and legal concerns," 12 Sep. 2019 The commission also went dark in 2008 for six months, which Weiner said led to an enormous backlog after the agency regained quorum. Dartunorro Clark, NBC News, "'It's going to be a crisis': Turning out the lights at the undermanned FEC," 30 Aug. 2019

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

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Time Traveler for quorum

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The first known use of quorum was in 1602

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Last Updated

1 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Quorum.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quorum. Accessed 13 December 2019.

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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


How to pronounce quorum (audio)

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 How to pronounce quorum (audio) \

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 How to pronounce quorum (audio) \

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

History and Etymology for quorum

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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More from Merriam-Webster on quorum

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with quorum

Spanish Central: Translation of quorum

Nglish: Translation of quorum for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of quorum for Arabic Speakers

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).


easily led, controlled, or managed

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