-ˈka-mə- How to pronounce unicameral (audio)
: having or consisting of a single legislative chamber
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 The dynamics of Israel’s fluid multiparty unicameral democracy are different than America’s rigid two-party federal system. Micah L. Sifry, The New Republic, 13 July 2023 In Nebraska, a push by two Republican senators to require most people to vote in person stalled this year in the unicameral legislature. Neil Vigdor, New York Times, 19 June 2023 What this meant for impeachment: In Peru’s post-senate reality, firing a president would require only a single vote in the new unicameral parliament. Marcelo Rochabrun, Bloomberg.com, 8 June 2023 The unicameral legislature subsequently advanced the bill by a vote of 31-12, with four members abstaining. Corey Deangelis, WSJ, 10 Mar. 2023 The number of states with full Republican control can be counted between 21 and 23 depending on whether that total includes Nebraska, where the unicameral Legislature is officially nonpartisan, and Alaska, where Republicans make up a majority of lawmakers but do not all caucus together. Mitch Smith, New York Times, 18 Jan. 2023 The developments over the last week underscore Peru’s long-running political crisis that has seen a unicameral congress confront the sitting president for the better part of a decade with the last person to fully finish his term being Ollanta Humala in 2016. Walter Brandimarte and Stephan Kueffner, Anchorage Daily News, 13 Dec. 2022 Netanyahu was first elected to political office in 1988 as a member of Israel's unicameral legislature, the Knesset, from the Likud party and was appointed deputy minister of foreign affairs, according to the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise's Jewish Virtual Library's records. Ella Lee, USA TODAY, 14 July 2022 The unicameral Nebraska Legislature gave preliminary approval earlier Thursday to a ban on gender-affirming care for minors. Steve Karnowski, ajc, 23 Mar. 2023

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

1853, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of unicameral was in 1853

Dictionary Entries Near unicameral

Cite this Entry

“Unicameral.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unicameral. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


uni·​cam·​er·​al ˌyü-ni-ˈkam-(ə-)rəl How to pronounce unicameral (audio)
: having or consisting of a single legislative body
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