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 The bylaws do not expressly specify who can make up the 'five-member' quorum. David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, "Judge: Counting Wayne State University president as part of board for quorum is legal," 26 Mar. 2020 Virulence kicks into high gear when this signaling indicates that the bacterial population reaches a certain density threshold—the requisite quorum. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "The immune system listens in on bacteria signaling to each other," 20 Dec. 2019 In 2003, Texas Democrats fled to neighboring Oklahoma to deny a quorum, holing up in a Holiday Inn to block a GOP redistricting bill. Gillian Flaccus, The Denver Post, "Oregon governor orders police after Republican senators who fled Capitol," 20 June 2019 Gruber added that the Ohio Attorney General's Office still requires that all council voting be be done in person, and some cities already allow council decisions to be made by a majority of a quorum. Thomas Jewell, cleveland, "Legislating through the pandemic: Shaker council enacts standby voting, spending protocol," 15 Mar. 2020 Lack of quorum hinders decision-making capacity at the meetings. Nathanial Gronewold, Scientific American, "Coronavirus Spurs Mass Cancellation of Climate Meetings," 13 Mar. 2020 During the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 and 1919 — which has frequently been compared to the coronavirus — both the House and Senate remained in session, although the House could not generate a quorum at times. Nicholas Fandos, New York Times, "As Lawmakers Report Exposure, Congress Grapples With Virus Response," 9 Mar. 2020 The White House is looking to avoid a loss of quorum at FERC by getting Danly approved this year, since fellow Republican Commissioner Bernard McNamee is not seeking another term, potentially leaving the commission with only two members. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy: House GOP braces for outside conservative pushback to climate plan," 13 Feb. 2020 All three of the Senators were among the group of lawmakers who went into hiding in order to deny majority Democrats a quorum at the Capitol. oregonlive.com, "3 Oregon Republicans still gone," 29 June 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

Time Traveler

The first known use of quorum was in 1602

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Last Updated

6 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Quorum.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quorum. Accessed 7 Apr. 2020.

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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

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