The Meaning of Consensus: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of consensus? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word consensus, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

What does the word consensus mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language as well as other dictionaries like American Heritage and Collins English dictionary, the word consensus means general agreement or unanimity, or a judgment arrived. By most who are concerned with a certain topic. This term refers to group solidarity in both belief and sentiments. This word is a noun, and is often attributive. The pronunciation of consensus is kənˈsɛnsəs. The term General consensus refers to a widespread agreement or consensus of opinion among group members or members of a given group. This could also be considered a collective opinion or majority of opinion. A lack of consensus in the process of decision-making can make it difficult for a group to proceed. Without the consensus of the group, people may resent the decision that has been made or the general opinion. You could add the suffix es to create the plural. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today. 

Many different languages also contain words that mean consensus. You may notice that some of these translations of consensus look and sound similar to the word consensus. These are called cognates, which are often formed when two words share the same root or language of origin, like Latin or Greek. This list of translations for the word consensus is provided by Word Sense

  •  Italian: consenso‎ (masc.)
  •  Czech: shoda‎ (fem.), souhlas‎ (masc.)
  •  Roman: konsènzus‎ (masc.), spȍrazūm‎ (masc.)
  •  Turkish: oybirliği‎
  •  Portuguese: consenso‎ (masc.)
  •  German: Konsens‎ (masc.), Einvernehmen‎ (neut.)
  •  Russian: консе́нсус‎, согла́сие‎ (neut.), единоду́шие‎ (neut.)
  •  Polish: konsensus‎ (m-in)
  •  Arabic: إِجْمَاع‎ (masc.), تَوَافُق‎ (masc.)
  •  Danish: konsensus‎
  •  Greek: ομοφωνία‎ (fem.), κοινή συναίνεση‎ (fem.)
  •  Bulgarian: съгла́сие‎ (neut.), единоду́шие‎ (neut.), консе́нсус‎ (masc.)
  •  Indonesian: konsensus‎
  •  Mandarin: 共識‎, 共识‎ (gòngshí)
  •  Vietnamese: đồng lòng‎
  •  French: consensus‎ (masc.)
  •  Dutch: consensus‎ (masc.), eensgezindheid‎, overeenstemming‎
  •  Cyrillic: консѐнзус‎ (masc.), спо̏разӯм‎ (masc.)
  •  Slovene: dogovor‎
  •  Swedish: konsensus‎
  •  Hindi: संप्रतिपत्ति‎ (fem.)
  •  Persian: اجماع‎
  •  Japanese: 総意‎ (そうい, sōi), 協心‎ (きょうしん, kyōshin), コンセンサス‎ (konsensasu)
  •  Spanish: consenso‎ (masc.)
  •  Esperanto: interkonsento‎
  •  Hungarian: egyezség‎
  •  Finnish: yksimielisyys‎, konsensus‎

How can the word consensus be used in a sentence?

The word consensus can be used in many different ways in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definitions. Below are several examples of consensus.

At Thanksgiving, after years of debate, the family came to an unstated consensus that Shelby had brought the best wine to the dinner. 

They came to a scientific consensus that global warming, dark matter, and the Big Bang were what they were going to focus their efforts on in the coming year. 

The Democrats and the Republicans could not reach a consensus. They each wanted the bill to pass and fail for similar reasons, and no amount of words of opinion from either side would cause the other to assent, and everyone shared their unproductive opinion and theoretical positions.

The student was frustrated because he did not consent to the welcome to Princeton University obligations he was forced to fulfill. Unfortunately, the consensus of the other participants was that all new students were required to participate.

Random House and Harpercollins Publishers reached a consensus that there were fraud and copyright claims from the shady author.

The group of young girls could not reach a real consensus about what the fortune teller said about their future weddings.

It was the agreement of the supermajority that the earlier sense of the phrase was considered offensive. There was a level of agreement higher enough that they reached a consensus and considered it hate speech.

What is the origin of the word consensus?

According to Etymonline, the word consensus (con-sen-sus, pl. consensuses) has been used as a noun since the year 1854. This was originally used in physiology but has been used of people since 1861. This comes from the Latin cōnsēnsus, from cōnsentiō, which is the past participle of cōnsentīre/consentīre meaning to feel together. This comes from the prefix com meaning with and sentire meaning to feel. 

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word consensus?

There are many different words that a person can use in place of the word consensus. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another given word or phrase. Learning synonyms is a great way to avoid repeating yourself and to expand your English language vocabulary. The below list synonyms for the word consensus is provided by Thesaurus

  •  bargaining
  •  suitableness
  •  concordance
  •  approving
  •  agreement
  •  unison
  •  acceding
  •  concert
  •  ratifying
  •  unanimity
  •  concurring
  •  complying
  •  accord
  •  concurrence
  •  granting
  •  affinity
  •  compliance
  •  acknowledging
  •  amity
  •  adjustment
  •  understanding
  •  correspondence
  •  consent
  •  compromise
  •  verifying
  •  consistency
  •  accommodation
  •  arrangement
  •  assenting
  •  harmony
  •  accordance
  •  congruity
  •  concord
  •  arbitration
  •  concession
  •  conformity
  •  accession
  •  compatibility
  •  authorizing
  •  union
  •  similarity
  •  mediation
  •  alliance
  •  verification
  •  affiliation
  •  unity
  •  sympathy
  •  reconciliation
  •  endorsing

There are also numerous different words that have the opposite meaning of the word consensus. These opposite words are called antonyms. Learning antonyms is another quick and easy way you can expand your vocabulary. The below list of antonyms for the word consensus is also provided by Thesaurus

  •  dissidence
  •  difference
  •  strife
  •  jarring
  •  rupture
  •  ill will
  •  variance
  •  falling out
  •  ill feeling
  •  altercation
  •  vendetta
  •  feud
  •  wrangle
  •  hostility
  •  atmospherics
  •  contention
  •  debate
  •  tension
  •  dispute
  •  conflict
  •  break
  •  cross-purposes
  •  antagonism
  •  bickering
  •  disunion
  •  clashing
  •  clash
  •  argument
  •  divisiveness
  •  contest
  •  squabble
  •  disagreement
  •  friction
  •  disunity
  •  animosity
  •  controversy
  •  words
  •  quarrel
  •  discord
  •  fight
  •  spat
  •  hassle
  •  division
  •  misunderstanding
  •  opposition
  •  breach
  •  dissent
  •  split

Overall, the word consensus means agreement, harmony of people, complete agreement, group decision, or a common opinion. This is often used in a legal setting or formal writing. 


  1. CONSENSUS Synonyms: 14 Synonyms & Antonyms for CONSENSUS | Thesaurus 
  2. DISAGREEMENT Synonyms: 84 Synonyms & Antonyms for DISAGREEMENT | Thesaurus 
  3. Consensus | Word Sense
  4. consensus | Origin and meaning of consensus | Online Etymology Dictionary