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[kuh n-sen-suh s] /kənˈsɛn səs/
noun, plural consensuses.
majority of opinion:
The consensus of the group was that they should meet twice a month.
general agreement or concord; harmony.
Origin of consensus
1850-55; < Latin, equivalent to consent(īre) to be in agreement, harmony (con- con- + sentīre to feel; cf. sense) + -tus suffix of v. action
Can be confused
census, consensus (see usage note at the current entry)
Usage note
Many say that the phrase consensus of opinion is redundant and hence should be avoided: The committee's statement represented a consensus of opinion. The expression is redundant, however, only if consensus is taken in the sense “majority of opinion” rather than in its equally valid and earlier sense “general agreement or concord.” Criticism of consensus of opinion has been so persistent and widespread that the phrase, even though in common use, occurs only infrequently in edited formal writing. The phrase general consensus is objected to for similar reasons. Consensus is now widely used attributively, especially in the phrase consensus politics.

consensus gentium

[kohn-sen-soo s gen-tee-oo m; English kuh n-sen-suh s jen-shee-uh m] /koʊnˈsɛn sʊs ˈgɛn tiˌʊm; English kənˈsɛn səs ˈdʒɛn ʃi əm/
noun, Latin.
agreement of the people. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for consensus
  • If there wasn't a general consensus or feeling about a cover up, these hoaxes wouldn't convince so many people.
  • Each report represents a consensus, or agreement, among hundreds of leading scientists.
  • Tell students they may not all agree, but they must come to a general consensus.
  • The general consensus is that it can't, which would make resuscitation something of a moot point.
  • There is little agreement about what causes depression and no consensus about what cures it.
  • But in every matter the consensus of opinion among all nations is to be regarded as the law of nature.
  • There is a growing consensus that the situation is dire-and looking bleaker every day.
  • She is also a shrewd consensus builder, adept at winning local support.
  • But some scientists are not pleased with this consensus.
  • The film industry isn't opposed to tackling social issues as long as a consensus has formed around them.
British Dictionary definitions for consensus


general or widespread agreement (esp in the phrase consensus of opinion)
Usage note
Since consensus refers to a collective opinion, the words of opinion in the phrase consensus of opinion are redundant and should therefore be avoided
Word Origin
C19: from Latin, from consentīre to feel together, agree; see consent
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 consensus

1854 as a term in physiology; 1861 of persons; from Latin consensus "agreement, accord," past participle of consentire (see consent). There is an isolated instance of the word from 1633.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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