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 Texas Democrats had little power to fight conservative priorities, an impotence best demonstrated by their dramatic, improbable quorum break to Washington, D.C., which delayed, but could not defeat, the new voting restrictions. BostonGlobe.com, 12 Sep. 2021 Meanwhile Texas Democrats -- many of whom hoped to stall the legislation in July by breaking quorum and camping out in Washington, D.C. -- continue to put pressure on federal lawmakers to act. Alisa Wiersema, ABC News, 7 Sep. 2021 The elections bill, a priority for Abbott and Republicans, was the cause of two quorum-breaking walkouts by Democrats, including a mass exodus to Washington, D.C., and a 15-hour filibuster during a showdown that stretched out for months. Eva Ruth Moravec, Anchorage Daily News, 7 Sep. 2021 Three board members can be a quorum and a simple majority vote in favor earns a recommendation to Evers. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7 Sep. 2021 Democrats gave up their quorum-break in mid-August. Dallas News, 3 Sep. 2021 Democratic members of the Texas House of Representatives spent weeks in Washington, D.C., this summer after breaking quorum during Governor Greg Abbott’s special session to avoid voting on a series of bills like SB8. Erin Coulehan, Glamour, 2 Sep. 2021 To stop the bill from advancing, Democrats staged a walkout in May and a mass exodus to Washington in July, breaking the record for longest quorum break in Texas history and forcing Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to order a second special session. Washington Post, 20 Aug. 2021 More than 50 Texas Democrats flew to Washington on last month in an effort to block restrictive voting legislation by breaking quorum. Dianne Gallagher, CNN, 2 Aug. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near quorum



quorum call

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Last Updated

18 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Quorum.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quorum. Accessed 25 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for quorum



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


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

More from Merriam-Webster on quorum

Nglish: Translation of quorum for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of quorum for Arabic Speakers


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