Word of the Day : October 3, 2010

caucus

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noun KAW-kus

Definition

: a closed meeting of a group of persons belonging to the same political party or faction usually to select candidates or to decide on policy; also : a group of people united to promote an agreed-upon cause

Did You Know?

In February of 1763, John Adams reported that the Boston "caucus club," a group of politically active city elders, would meet in the garret of Tom Dawes to choose "Assessors, Collectors, Wardens, Fire Wards, and Representatives." He wrote that at the meetings, those present would "smoke tobacco till you [could not] see from one end of the garret to the other." A similarly opaque smoke screen seems to shroud the history of the word "caucus." Linguists can see that it is clearly an Americanism; Adams's use is the first known to link the word to such a political meeting. Beyond that, details are uncertain, but some scholars think "caucus" may have developed from an Algonquian term for a group of elders, leaders, or advisers.

Test Your Memory: What recently featured Word of the Day means "to revoke by a contrary order"? The answer is ...


Examples

Delegates attending the local caucus chose the candidates they wanted placed on the ballot at the party convention.

"Williams's appeal is clearly pitched at the Wilkerson supporters who don't care about the machinations of the Democratic caucus, but wonder why the revival of, say, Dudley Square never seems to happen." -- From an article by Adrian Walker in The Boston Globe, September 4, 2010




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