1

Is there an adjective that indicates something was reached by consensus? "Consensual" seems to be a synonym of "consentual" and have nothing to do with consensus. Online dictionaries listing "consensus" do not include any reference to adjective forms.

Example:

Most of the committee agreed it was a good idea, and the rest didn't oppose it. The decision was ____

I am not looking for "unanimous", since to my understanding consensus is about overall agreement even if some individuals disagree, whereas unanimity is a lot stronger. For instance, you almost never hear claims about "unanimity among experts/scientist" on some issue, only consensus.

5
  • How about united, same, consistent or undivided?
    – 3kstc
    Sep 25, 2019 at 23:29
  • The committee was united, not the decision. Same as what, consistent with what? I don't think any of these fit my example sentence. Undivided might fit (though awkwardly). But it (and united) really seem more like replacements for unanimous, not "consensus-al". Again, consensus leaves room for individual disagreement as long as the whole body is in agreement: consensus could be reached after many debates and compromises to placate the opposition. You'd hardly call that "united".
    – bxekg
    Sep 25, 2019 at 23:36
  • 1
    It would be "consensual". As far as I know it (also) means what you want here. What makes you think otherwise ? It certainly is often used in that sense in mainstream newspapers.
    – Ivan
    Sep 26, 2019 at 0:20
  • You say "Consensual" seems to be a synonym of "consentual" and have nothing to do with consensus, yet the etymology of the word is directly from "consensus". If you insist on rejecting consensual as the (obvious) answer, you need to edit your question to include a definition of consensual from a reputable dictionary to support your contention. Sep 26, 2019 at 2:14
  • consensus-based Nov 30, 2019 at 0:52

4 Answers 4

2

The noun "consensus" is often used as a modifier to refer to the decision that was reached via that process. So you can say:

It was a consensus decision.

From Lexico:

[as modifier] ‘a consensus view’

0
0

I think you are correct, "consensual" is more about "with a person's consent", rather than a group decision.

Its not a single word but: "general agreement" implies that, of the unspecified number of individuals involved, most agreed to the decision; it leaves room for some of those involved to have disagreed, but suggests that the ultimate decision was agreed by a majority...

0

consentaneous

Done or made by general consent; widely agreed or approved.

[WordHippo]

and from Merriam-Webster (thanks due to Joachim):

consentaneous

  1. expressing agreement : SUITED
  2. done or made by the consent of all

However, @WS2 adds a warning note that OED's latest example is from as far back as 1873, and the Google 1-gram echoes the implication that this word is at best archaic.

3
  • Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    May 22 at 16:04
  • 2
    WordHippo is really not an authoritative resource, but here's a Merriam-Webster link. Note that Lexico doesn't list the word.
    – Joachim
    May 22 at 16:52
  • @Joachim Yes. This is the correct answer and is confirmed by the Oxford English Dictionary - though they do not have an example of its use more recent than 1873.
    – WS2
    May 22 at 18:20
-1

As a group, the decision was agreed upon. Although some members may not have voted for it, or may even have voted against it, meaning it wasn't unanimous, as a process the decision followed the rules and procedures of requiring a majority view.

Therefore, the group decision was concordant:

[Merriam-Webster]
CONSONANT, AGREEING

// All three tests have concordant results.
// the movie's opening-weekend gross was fairly concordant with box-office returns for that genre


The difficulty is one of semantics and context. When a group decision is made, some people may not agree with the specific decision itself, but they may still agree with the fact that it was reached by following a process that they agree with.

In other words, from the viewpoint of an individual dissenter:

We will have to agree to disagree.
I don't believe what you say, but I will defend your right to say it.
I support and respect the process and the decision—even if it's not the result I wanted.

It's a matter of perspective.

The decision itself was accepted because it was in concord with (in agreement with or consonant with) the majority opinion.

2
  • I don't think "concordant" works. It's used to say that one thing agrees with some other thing, not that the thing was produced by agreement.
    – Barmar
    Sep 30, 2019 at 21:01
  • @Barmar Yes, that's exactly how I see it. The decision was not disputed. It followed the accepted procedures. They all agreed to abide by it. I can't think of any other way of expressing it when the specific decision itself is not unanimous. Sep 30, 2019 at 21:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.