caucus

[kaw-kuhs]
noun, plural caucuses.
1.
U.S. politics.
a.
a meeting of party leaders to select candidates, elect convention delegates, etc.
b.
a meeting of party members within a legislative body to select leaders and determine strategy.
c.
(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.
2.
any group or meeting organized to further a special interest or cause.
verb (used without object)
3.
to hold or meet in a caucus.
verb (used with object)
4.
to bring up or hold for discussion in a caucus: The subject was caucused. The group caucused the meeting.

Origin:
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

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
caucus (ˈkɔːkəs)
 
n , pl -cuses
1.  chiefly (US), (Canadian)
 a.  a closed meeting of the members of one party in a legislative chamber, etc, to coordinate policy, choose candidates, etc
 b.  such a bloc of politicians: the Democratic caucus in Congress
2.  chiefly (US)
 a.  a group of leading politicians of one party
 b.  a meeting of such a group
3.  chiefly (US) a local meeting of party members
4.  (Brit) a group or faction within a larger group, esp a political party, who discuss tactics, choose candidates, etc
5.  (Austral) a group of MPs from one party who meet to discuss tactics, etc
6.  (NZ) a formal meeting of all Members of Parliament belonging to one political party
 
vb
7.  (intr) to hold a caucus
 
[C18: probably of Algonquian origin; related to caucauasu adviser]

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

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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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
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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Example sentences
He or she will be decided through the quirky process of state primaries and
  caucuses.
The process has four steps: the precinct caucuses, the county conventions, the
  district conventions and the state convention.
State primaries and caucuses select pledged delegates, who are obligated to
  vote for the candidate their state chose.
Dems to forgo presidential primary, hold party-funded caucuses instead.
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