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

Egan and open-government activist Arthur West separately sued the city, arguing the behind-the-scenes dealings predetermined the public vote and broke the meetings law that prohibits a government body’s quorum from making decisions in private. Lewis Kamb, The Seattle Times, "Judge orders political consultant, city of Seattle to disclose polling results, other records related to council’s abrupt head-tax repeal," 18 Oct. 2018 New members of the church’s highest-ranking governing quorums typically rise through the ranks slowly, being rewarded for competence and loyalty over time. John G. Turner, WSJ, "Mormonism’s Global Future," 19 Apr. 2018 Back in April 2016, only four council members — one shy of a quorum — attended a committee meeting in which the Sodo vote was supposed to be scheduled. Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times, "Why the Seattle City Council voted in favor of KeyArena but not Chris Hansen’s Sodo project," 25 Sep. 2018 To ensure that the justices come to consensus, the Court would need to agree on all five additional justices or else it would be deemed not to have a quorum, and thus unable to hear cases. Daniel Epps, Vox, "A simple plan for saving the Supreme Court," 6 Sep. 2018 Did the countries in arrears count toward a quorum? New York Times, "In a Chemical Weapons Debate, Russia Tries to Change the Subject," 26 June 2018 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

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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Statistics for quorum

Last Updated

15 Dec 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

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

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