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

As for the search for a new commissioner, it has been locked in place since the board lost its quorum. Jason Hancock, kansascity, "Under Greitens, Missouri’s state school board couldn’t meet for months. Now it’s back," 14 June 2018 The board’s selections could be approved this month, which would give the commission a quorum in time for its first June meeting. Dominic Fracassa, San Francisco Chronicle, "SF Mayor Mark Farrell renominates 2 for police commission that Supes rejected," 17 May 2018 That means the commission won’t have a quorum and will be unable to make certain big decisions. Anna North, Vox, "Conservative Sen. Mike Lee is holding up a Trump nominee for supporting LGBTQ rights," 18 Dec. 2018 Unless new judges are named in the coming months, the appeals body won’t have a quorum to decide trade cases brought by member nations. Bob Davis, WSJ, "Trump Expects to Move Ahead With Boost on China Tariffs," 26 Nov. 2018 Just because a quorum, or majority, didn’t privately meet before the repeal vote doesn’t mean the council didn’t violate the OPMA. Lewis Kamb, The Seattle Times, "‘What a mess’: Texts by Seattle mayor, council member shed light on head-tax repeal," 18 Sep. 2018 With Goodman’s departure, the FEC has a bare-minimum quorum of four members — two Republicans, one Democrat and one independent — whose unanimous votes are now required to take official action. Washington Post, "FEC commissioner’s departure leaves panel with bare-minimum quorum," 7 Feb. 2018 That a quorum of British lawmakers could unravel Brexit isn’t unimaginable. Jason Douglas, WSJ, "Brexit Revote? Calls for a Second Referendum Grow Louder," 18 Dec. 2018 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

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

24 Mar 2019

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 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).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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