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Quorum

Such a number of persons as are necessary to make up a committee or board; or certain justices without the presence of whom the rest cannot act. Thus, suppose the commission to be named A, B, C, D, E, etc., it would run- “Of these I wish [A, B, C, D, or E] to be one” (quorum unum esse volumus). These honoured names are called “Justices of the Quorum.” Slender calls Justice Shallow justice of the peace and quorum. (Shakespeare Merry Wives of Windsor, i. 1.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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