quo·​rum ˈkwȯr-əm How to pronounce quorum (audio)
plural quorums or quora ˈkwȯr-ə How to pronounce quorum (audio)
: the minimum number of officers or members of a body that is required to be present at a given meeting (as to transact business)
In order to adopt articles, according to the rules, the assembly will need a quorum of two thirds.Ciara Nugent
A minyan is a quorum of 10 adult Jews necessary for public prayer services.Jeannine F. Hunter
: a select group
… speaking to a quorum of young and ambitious lawyers …Lewis H. Lapham
… the gala's guests, who typically include a quorum of … Hollywood A-listers and supermodels.Annie Karni
: a body of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints comprising those in the same grade of priesthood

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Quorum Has a Legal History

It takes two drama queens to tango, three Nervous Nellies to change a lightbulb, and 218 U.S. House Representatives to constitute a formal meeting. Each of these minimums—especially the last one—may be described as a quorum. This word, which can be pluralized as quorums or quora, comes directly from the Latin word quorum, which translates as "of whom." At one time, this Latin quorum was used in the wording of the commissions granting power to justices of the peace in England. Later, when it became an English noun, 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, and today quorum is used to refer to the minimum number of people required to be present at a meeting in order for official business to take place. It can also be used more broadly to mean simply "a select group."

Examples of quorum in a Sentence

We need five people to make a quorum.
Recent Examples on the Web Lawmakers have begun taking what’s known as a quorum call, which allows the clerk to get an official headcount on House members who are present and voting. Katy Stech Ferek, WSJ, 25 Oct. 2023 However, a reasonable quorum requirement protects the HOA membership from a small group of members making important decisions for all members. Kelly G. Richardson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Oct. 2023 After a crucial vote before the parliamentary summer break failed because the government could not ensure a quorum of its legislators, national support for the AfD ticked up to 20 percent for the first time. Liana Fix, Foreign Affairs, 10 Oct. 2023 Until Wilcox returns, the board is bereft of a decision-making quorum. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 1 Sep. 2023 HOAs struggling to achieve membership quorum (the minimum number of members voting to conduct a membership vote) will receive help from changes to Civil Code Section 5115. Kelly G. Richardson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 30 Dec. 2023 However, with just Wright and Vice Chair Karen Buchanan present, the meeting was called off because the board did not have a quorum of three members. Joseph Flaherty, arkansasonline.com, 22 Nov. 2023 Senate President Rob Wagner, D-Lake Oswego, banged his gavel ending Thursday’s brief floor session after Republican absences again denied Democrats the necessary 20-member quorum to conduct business. oregonlive, 11 May 2023 To hold a Jewish religious service, a quorum of at least 10 people need to attend, called a minyan. Caitlin O'Kane, CBS News, 12 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'quorum.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1596, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of quorum was in 1596


Dictionary Entries Near quorum

Cite this Entry

“Quorum.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quorum. Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


quo·​rum ˈkwōr-əm How to pronounce quorum (audio)
: the number of members of an organization required to be present in order for business to be carried on

Legal Definition


quo·​rum ˈkwōr-əm How to pronounce quorum (audio)
: the number (as a majority) of members or officers that must be present to conduct business
lacked a quorum at the meeting of shareholders

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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