noun, often attributive
con·​sen·​sus | \ kən-ˈsen(t)-səs How to pronounce consensus (audio) \

Essential Meaning of consensus

: a general agreement about something : an idea or opinion that is shared by all the people in a group The (general) consensus (of the group) was to go ahead with the plan. Scientists have not reached a consensus on the cause of the disease. [=scientists do not yet agree about the cause of the disease] See More ExamplesThere is a growing consensus [=more and more people agree] about/on the need for further investigation. What is the consensus of opinion among the experts? [=what do the experts all say?] Everyone on the council seems to understand the need for consensus. There is a lack of consensus among the citizens. The decision was made by consensus.Hide

Full Definition of consensus

1a : general agreement : unanimity the consensus of their opinion, based on reports … from the border— John Hersey
b : the judgment arrived at by most of those concerned the consensus was to go ahead
2 : group solidarity in sentiment and belief

Is the phrase consensus of opinion redundant?: Usage Guide

The phrase consensus of opinion, which is not actually redundant (see sense 1a; the sense that takes the phrase is slightly older), has been so often claimed to be a redundancy that many writers avoid it. You are safe in using consensus alone when it is clear you mean consensus of opinion, and most writers in fact do so.

Examples of consensus in a Sentence

Yet despite this and other dust-ups during the convention, the general consensus is that Episcopalians weathered this one with their customary civility intact. — Antonio Ramirez, Commonweal, 12 Sept. 1997 Despite years of debate over the best wine to serve at Thanksgiving, no real consensus has emerged. — Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator, 30 Nov. 1995 Beyond the general goal of sustainability, there was little consensus at the conference on how to get from here to there. — Constance Holden, Science, 6 July 1990 … it is the consensus of opinion that the Iceni in their geographic isolation remained 'Celtic' … — Antonia Fraser, The Warrior Queens, 1988 Everyone on the council seems to understand the need for consensus. There is a lack of consensus among the citizens. The decision was made by consensus.
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Recent Examples on the Web So there’s no such thing in medicine or science as consensus. Bob Guccione Jr, SPIN, 17 Jan. 2022 The consensus now seems to be that Apple will forgo a significant design overhaul this year. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 16 Jan. 2022 There’s no consensus top player in this year’s draft class, which makes the No. 1 pick a bit of a toss-up. C.j. Doon,, 14 Jan. 2022 The United States also proposed that five of those individuals be blacklisted by the United Nations Security Council, which would need consensus agreement by the body’s 15-member North Korea sanctions committee. NBC News, 13 Jan. 2022 But finding bipartisan comity this time will be all but impossible for Mr. Biden, who spent 36 years in the Senate and views himself as a consensus builder. New York Times, 11 Jan. 2022 The consensus of professional economists called for more than twice as many jobs as were actually added. Washington Post, 11 Jan. 2022 That drive, that score, seemed to lift the cloud that has hovered over this program since its only consensus national title. oregonlive, 11 Jan. 2022 Analysts remain a bit bullish on Rivian, with a consensus 12-month target price of about $135 per share, per TipRanks. Jacob Carpenter, Fortune, 11 Jan. 2022

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

1843, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for consensus

Latin, from consentire — see consent entry 1

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Time Traveler for consensus

Time Traveler

The first known use of consensus was in 1843

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Dictionary Entries Near consensus



consensus of opinion

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Last Updated

20 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Consensus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of consensus for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of consensus for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about consensus


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