[ kaw-kuhs ]
See synonyms for caucus on
noun,plural cau·cus·es.
  1. U.S. Politics.

    • a local meeting of party members to select candidates, elect convention delegates, etc.

    • a meeting of party members within a legislative body to select leaders and determine strategy.

    • Often Caucus . 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)
  1. to hold or meet in a caucus.

verb (used with object)
  1. to bring up or hold for discussion in a caucus: The subject was caucused.

  2. to bring together or poll in a caucus: The paper caucused its new editorial board on Friday.The chairman caucused the water pollution committee before making recommendations.

Origin of caucus

An Americanism dating back to 1755–65; apparently first used in the name of the Caucus Club of colonial Boston; further origin uncertain; perhaps from Medieval Latin caucus “drinking vessel,” Late Latin caucum, from Greek kaûkos; perhaps from Virginia Algonquian Cawcawwassough “elders of the Chickahominy people”

Words Nearby caucus Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use caucus in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for caucus


/ (ˈkɔːkəs) /

nounplural -cuses
  1. 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 politicians: the Democratic caucus in Congress

  2. mainly US

    • a group of leading politicians of one party

    • a meeting of such a group

  1. mainly US a local meeting of party members

  2. British a group or faction within a larger group, esp a political party, who discuss tactics, choose candidates, etc

  3. Australian a group of MPs from one party who meet to discuss tactics, etc

  4. NZ a formal meeting of all Members of Parliament belonging to one political party

  1. (intr) to hold a caucus

Origin of caucus

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

Cultural definitions for 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 New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.