uni·​cam·​er·​al | \ ˌyü-ni-ˈkam-rəl How to pronounce unicameral (audio) , -ˈka-mə- \

Definition of unicameral

: having or consisting of a single legislative chamber

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Other Words from unicameral

unicamerally adverb

Did You Know?

Unicameral means "one-chambered", and the term almost always describes a governing body. Our federal legislature, like those of most democracies, is bicameral, with two legislative (lawmaking) bodies—the Senate and the House of Representatives. And except for Nebraska, all the state legislatures are also bicameral. So why did the nation decide on a bicameral system? Partly in order to keep some power out of the hands of ordinary voters, who the Founding Fathers didn't completely trust. For that reason, the original Constitution states that senators are to be elected by the state legislatures; not until 1914, after passage of a Constitutional amendment, did we first cast direct votes for our senators.

Examples of unicameral in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Forty of the 70 members of the Legislative Council, Hong Kong’s unicameral representative body, are directly elected, while the other 30 are elected indirectly by functional constituencies, which largely represent Hong Kong’s business community. Bethany Allen-ebrahimian, The New Republic, "The Depressing Reality Behind Hong Kong’s Protests," 20 June 2019 Nebraska, unique among U.S. states, is unicameral and officially nonpartisan. Washington Post, "Democrats strive to tighten their hold in several states," 29 Apr. 2018 Yet Fujimori’s party, Fuerza Popular, captured 56 percent of the seats in Peru’s unicameral Congress, and Kuczynski’s party held only 11 percent. Javier Corrales, Washington Post, "The threat of impeachment can push presidents out the door. But there’s a catch.," 11 Apr. 2018 His centre-right Peruvians for Change party holds only 18 of the unicameral congress’s 130 seats. The Economist, "Latin America’s biggest scandal threatens to snare Peru’s president, too," 19 Dec. 2017 The unicameral Congress will hold an initial vote whether to accept the motion at 4 p.m. in Lima and may make a final decision Dec. 21, Speaker Luis Galarreta told reporters. John Quigley, Bloomberg.com, "Peru Opposition Moves to Force Out President Over Payments," 15 Dec. 2017 Nebraska also has the only unicameral Legislature in the nation and there are no party caucuses, although affiliations are known. Washington Post, "Nebraska sets highest bar in US for independent candidates," 14 Sep. 2017 Residents brag about their unique unicameral Legislature, where lawmakers do not caucus by party, and frequently don scarlet Nebraska T-shirts celebrating the state’s flagship university and its football team, the Cornhuskers. Mitch Smith, New York Times, "Nebraska’s Flag Lacks Pizazz. The Hard Part Is Changing It.," 10 Aug. 2017 Looming above this was the ever-present shadow of something called the Major Oil Pipeline Siting Act (MOPSA), which was passed through Nebraska's unique unicameral state legislature in 2011. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, "There Are Two Unsung Heroes in the Keystone Pipeline Fight," 9 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'unicameral.' 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 unicameral

1853, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for unicameral

uni- + Late Latin camera room, chamber — more at chamber

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Time Traveler for unicameral

Time Traveler

The first known use of unicameral was in 1853

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Cite this Entry

“Unicameral.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unicameral. Accessed 15 December 2019.

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More Definitions for unicameral


How to pronounce unicameral (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of unicameral

technical : having only one part

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delight or enjoyment

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