Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A meeting of the local members of a political party especially to select delegates to a convention or register preferences for candidates running for office.
  • noun A closed meeting of party members within a legislative body to decide on questions of policy or leadership.
  • noun A group within a legislative or decision-making body seeking to represent a specific interest or influence a particular area of policy.
  • noun Chiefly British A committee within a political party charged with determining policy.
  • intransitive verb To assemble in or hold a caucus.
  • intransitive verb To assemble or canvass (members of a caucus).

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In U. S. politics:
  • noun A local meeting of the voters of a party to nominate candidates for local offices, or to elect delegates to a convention for the nomination of more important officers.
  • noun A similar congressional, legislative, or other gathering of leading members of a party for conference as to party measures and policy.
  • noun Any meeting of managers or of interested persons for the purpose of deciding upon a line of policy, an arrangement of business, etc., to be brought before a larger meeting, as a convention.
  • noun In Eng. politics, a large local committee of voters for the management of all electioneering business of its party: called the Birmingham system, from its introduction at Birmingham about 1880.
  • To meet in caucus; come together and confer.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A meeting, especially a preliminary meeting, of persons belonging to a party, to nominate candidates for public office, or to select delegates to a nominating convention, or to confer regarding measures of party policy; a political primary meeting.
  • intransitive verb To hold, or meet in, a caucus or caucuses.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun US A meeting, especially a preliminary meeting, of persons belonging to a party, to nominate candidates for public office, or to select delegates to a nominating convention, or to confer regarding measures of party policy; a political primary meeting.
  • noun US, Canada A grouping of all the members of a legislature from the same party.
  • verb US To meet and participate in caucus.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a closed political meeting
  • verb meet to select a candidate or promote a policy

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[After the Caucus, Club of Boston (in the 1760s), possibly from Medieval Latin caucus, drinking vessel.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Unknown. One possible source is Algonquin caucauasu ("counselor, elder, adviser").

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Examples

  • Winning in caucus is not democratic, its more like a boiling room brawl, muscling people.

    Clinton: No cause for alarm 2008

  • The term caucus apparently comes from an Algonquin word meaning "gathering of tribal chiefs," and the main crux of the caucus system today is indeed a series of meetings.

    Archive 2008-01-01 2008

  • Some of these discussions have bordered on the absurd: as I recounted in my post on the politics of the term 'mommy blogger,' I once had the unique pleasure of debating the question of whether or not the term caucus - as in, should we form a women's caucus in order to have a forum for women's issues in the department?

    Fights Like a Girl 2006

  • Some of these discussions have bordered on the absurd: as I recounted in my post on the politics of the term 'mommy blogger,' I once had the unique pleasure of debating the question of whether or not the term caucus - as in, should we form a women's caucus in order to have a forum for women's issues in the department?

    Archive 2006-07-09 2006

  • LAS VEGAS -- After back-to-back fiascos in Nevada and Iowa, the term "caucus" may be on its way to becoming a bad word in the...

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com The Huffington Post News Editors 2012

  • LAS VEGAS -- After back-to-back fiascos in Nevada and Iowa, the term "caucus" may be on its way to becoming a bad word in the...

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com Mark Blumenthal 2012

  • As an Obama precinct captain, I was having a little trouble imagining a "precinct convention" (which is what they call the caucus) at the Northeast Community Center.

    Deanie Mills: How Winning A Coin Toss Made Me An Obama Delegate 2008

  • The democratic caucus is undisciplined and disorganized.

    Matthew Yglesias » Cutting the Stimulus 2009

  • Paul Krugman uses the term "pain caucus" to describe the growing chorus of well-placed and well-respected people who believe that we have to cut spending even in the face of continued economic stagnation and growing immiseration.

    Jonathan Weiler: America's Elites Further Separate Themselves From Everyone Else Jonathan Weiler 2010

  • While Meeks has the signatures, and a lot of support, the caucus is worried about his history, namely hateful "remarks from the pulpit about gays -- and his use of the n-word and the term 'slave-master' to describe Daley four years ago."

    Chicago Mayor's Race Roundup: Rahm Can't Live With Tom Dart...Where Is The Tea Party? The Huffington Post News Team 2010

Comments

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  • Awful word.

    April 23, 2007

  • caucus, then press us together, so that we may never be apart....

    May 25, 2009