Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
March 29th, 2016
Episode 488 of 875 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for March 29, 2016 is: quorum \KWOR-um\ noun 1 : a select group 2 : the number (such as a majority) of officers or members of a body that when duly assembled is legally competent to transact business Examples: The organization's charter states that a quorum of at least seven board members must be present before any voting can take place. "The City Council meeting that was supposed to continue from Tuesday night didn't happen after only one member showed up, leaving the council without a quorum." — Garrett Brnger, KSAT.com (San Antonio, Texas), 17 Feb. 2016 Did you know? In Latin, quorum means "of whom" and is itself the genitive plural of qui, meaning "who." At one time, Latin quorum was used in the wording of the commissions issued to justices of the peace in England. In English, quorum initially referred to the number of justices of the peace who had to be present to constitute a legally sufficient bench. That sense is now rare, but it's not surprising that quorum has come to mean both "a select group" and "the minimum people required in order to conduct business."