- U.S. Politics.
- a meeting of party leaders to select candidates, elect convention delegates, etc.
- a meeting of party members within a legislative body to select leaders and determine strategy.
- (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.
- to hold or meet in a caucus.
- to bring up or hold for discussion in a caucus: The subject was caucused. The group caucused the meeting.
Origin of caucus
Examples from the Web for caucuses
And keep in mind that when Huckabee ran for president in 2008, he won the Iowa caucuses.The Devil in Mike Huckabee
January 6, 2015
It is a linguistic wish for the same kind of campaign that catapulted Barack Obama forward from the caucuses.The Coronation That Wants to Be a Movement: Scenes From Hillary’s Iowa Steak Fry
Ana Marie Cox
September 15, 2014
The Iowa caucuses are still nearly a year and a half away and a lot can happen in the meantime.Rand Paul Gears Up For 2016
July 28, 2014
With 18 months to go until the 2016 Iowa caucuses, Democratic presidential hopefuls are nowhere to be found in the Hawkeye State.Iowa Has a Phantom Democratic Presidential Candidates Problem
July 8, 2014
Unlike a primary, caucuses for Democrats in Iowa have viability thresholds.Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders Likely To Flop Against Hillary In Iowa
May 16, 2014
In fact, even the deliberations of the workmen's caucuses must have been known to Gage.The Siege of Boston
From that time on, there were meetings and caucuses and primaries every night.A Woman for Mayor
Helen M. Winslow
On the eve of the caucuses the war of the factions waxed hot.
Caucuses they have had, it seems, and caucuses they are to have again,—victory and defeat.The Maine Woods
Henry David Thoreau
Caucuses, insulated with intrigue and corruption, were then unknown.Sages and Heroes of the American Revolution
L. Carroll Judson
- mainly US and Canadian
- a closed meeting of the members of one party in a legislative chamber, etc, to coordinate policy, choose candidates, etc
- such a bloc of politiciansthe Democratic caucus in Congress
- mainly US
- a group of leading politicians of one party
- a meeting of such a group
- mainly US a local meeting of party members
- British a group or faction within a larger group, esp a political party, who discuss tactics, choose candidates, etc
- Australian 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
- (intr) to hold a caucus
Word Origin and History for caucuses
1850, from caucus (n.), but caucusing is attested from 1788.
"private meeting of party leaders," 1763, American English (New England), perhaps from an Algonquian word caucauasu "counselor, elder, adviser" in the dialect of Virginia, or from the Caucus Club of Boston, a 1760s social & political club whose name possibly derived from Modern Greek kaukos "drinking cup." Another old guess is caulker's (meeting) [Pickering, 1816], but OED finds this dismissable.
caucus: "This noun is used throughout the United States, as a cant term for those meetings, which are held by the different political parties, for the purpose of agreeing upon candidates for office, or concerting any measure, which they intend to carry at the subsequent public, or town meetings." [John Pickering, "A Vocabulary, or Collection of Words and Phrases Which Have Been Supposed to be Peculiar to the United States of America," Boston, 1816]
The word caucus, and its derivative caucusing, are often used in Boston. The last answers much to what we stile parliamenteering or electioneering. All my repeated applications to different gentlemen have not furnished me with a satisfactory account of the origin of caucus. It seems to mean, a number of persons, whether more or less, met together to consult upon adopting and prosecuting some scheme of policy, for carrying a favorite point. [William Gordon, "History, Rise, Progress, and Establishment of the Independence of the United States of America," London, 1788]
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.