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[kaw-kuh s] /ˈkɔ kəs/
noun, plural caucuses.
U.S. Politics.
  1. a meeting of party leaders to select candidates, elect convention delegates, etc.
  2. a meeting of party members within a legislative body to select leaders and determine strategy.
  3. (often initial capital letter) a faction within a legislative body that pursues its interests through the legislative process:
    the Women's Caucus; the Black Caucus.
any group or meeting organized to further a special interest or cause.
verb (used without object)
to hold or meet in a caucus.
verb (used with object)
to bring up or hold for discussion in a caucus:
The subject was caucused. The group caucused the meeting.
Virginia Algonquian
1755-65, Americanism; apparently first used in the name of the Caucus Club of colonial Boston; perhaps < Medieval Latin caucus drinking vessel, Late Latin caucum < Greek kaûkos; alleged Virginia Algonquian orig. less probable Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for caucus
  • It will welcome you, and so will the caucus of lucid malcontents.
  • But the straw poll isn't often an indicator of who will go on to win the caucus.
  • Most aren't known outside their own districts and tend to vote with their party caucus.
  • As little as a week before the caucus the polls were still showing him in fourth or fifth place.
  • Here are the final pitches they'll get from caucus captains.
  • A caucus is a meeting of supporters or members of a political party or movement.
British Dictionary definitions for caucus


noun (pl) -cuses
(mainly US & Canadian)
  1. a closed meeting of the members of one party in a legislative chamber, etc, to coordinate policy, choose candidates, etc
  2. such a bloc of politicians the Democratic caucus in Congress
(mainly US)
  1. a group of leading politicians of one party
  2. a meeting of such a group
(mainly US) a local meeting of party members
(Brit) a group or faction within a larger group, esp a political party, who discuss tactics, choose candidates, etc
(Austral) a group of MPs from one party who meet to discuss tactics, etc
(NZ) a formal meeting of all Members of Parliament belonging to one political party
(intransitive) to hold a caucus
Word Origin
C18: probably of Algonquian origin; related to caucauasu adviser
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for caucus
1763, Amer.Eng., perhaps from caucauasu "counselor" in the Algonquian dialect of Virginia, or the Caucus Club of Boston, a 1760s social & political club whose name possibly derived from Mod.Gr. kaukos "drinking cup." Another candidate is caulker's (meeting). The verb is from 1850.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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caucus in Culture
caucus [(kaw-kuhs)]

A meeting of members of a political party to nominate candidates, choose convention delegates, plan campaign tactics, determine party policy, or select leaders for a legislature.

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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Encyclopedia Article for caucus

any political group or meeting organized to further a special interest or cause

Learn more about caucus with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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