quorum

[kwawr-uhm, kwohr-]
noun
1.
the number of members of a group or organization required to be present to transact business legally, usually a majority.
2.
a particularly chosen group.

Origin:
1425–75; < Latin quōrum of whom; from a use of the word in commissions written in Latin specifying a quorum

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World English Dictionary
quorum (ˈkwɔːrəm)
 
n
a minimum number of members in an assembly, society, board of directors, etc, required to be present before any valid business can be transacted: the quorum is forty; we don't have a quorum
 
[C15: from Latin, literally: of whom, occurring in Latin commissions in the formula quorum vos…duos (etc) volumus of whom we wish that you be…two]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

quorum
1426, in ref. to certain eminent justices of the peace, from L. quorum "of whom," gen. pl. of qui (see who). The traditional wording of the commission appointing justices of the peace translates as, "We have also assigned you, and every two or more of you (of whom [quoram vos]
any one of you the aforesaid A, B, C, D, etc. we will shall be one) our justices to inquire the truth more fully." The justices so-named were usually called the justices of the quorum. Meaning "fixed number of members whose presence is necessary to transact business" is first recorded 1616.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
quorum [(kwawr-uhm)]

The minimum number of members of a committee or legislative body who must be present before business can officially or legally be conducted. In the United States Congress, for example, either house must have a majority (218 in the House of Representatives, 51 in the Senate) to have a quorum.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
It was a diverse quorum ethnically, and very ecumenical theologically.
If the quorum was not met, there would be another election.
The conviction was overturned because a quorum of committee members hadn't been
  present during the testimony.
The motion passed with no vote, due to a lack of House quorum caused by the
  absent lawmakers.
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