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 However, his attempt failed after party leaders brought 216 members to the floor and gallery in order to establish a quorum. Kerry Picket, Washington Examiner, "Thomas Massie unloads on Liz Cheney for backing failed primary opponent," 26 June 2020 In the House, most of the body’s 60 lawmakers filed through the chamber in order to achieve a quorum while maintaining safe distances and keeping the total number of people present to a minimum. oregonlive, "Oregon lawmakers — mostly masked — convene special session in Salem," 24 June 2020 As a result of this delay, the board is now down to four directors, barely enough for a quorum. Rachel Swan, SFChronicle.com, "Muni rolls back fare increases after pressure from SF supervisors," 10 June 2020 In fact, hasn't had a quorum for much of the last year. CBS News, "Putin and the the 2020 presidential election - transcript," 10 June 2020 It was long understood that at least six out of nine justices had to be physically present for a quorum at the court. WSJ, "The People’s House Can Do Its Job in Person," 3 June 2020 In the absence of a quorum, the opposition backed Áñez, the fiercely anti-Morales vice president of the senate. Rachelle Krygier, Washington Post, "In Bolivia, an interim leader is leaving her conservative mark," 18 Nov. 2019 That’s a reference to the 11 Senate Republicans who left Oregon last week to deny majority Democrats a quorum, leaving the chamber unable to conduct business for a fifth day Tuesday. oregonlive.com, "After climate bill’s apparent defeat, supporters turn ire on Senate President," 25 June 2019 Under the new rule, the absent lawmakers who vote by proxy can be counted toward a quorum, which typically requires a majority to be present in the chamber. Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner, "House GOP to sue Democrats to block new proxy voting plan," 26 May 2020

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

7 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Quorum.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quorum. Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for quorum


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


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

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