Parliamentary Procedure Glossary of Terms

Abstain: not voting one way or the other

Adjourn: ending the meeting

Agenda: an outline of items to address at a meeting

Amendment: adding to a motion, usually to improve it, enlarge its intent, or to make it more understandable

Appeal the decision of the Chair: to question the Chairperson's decision and ask the group to change it

Appoint: to place someone in a job or position

Bylaws: the rules a group has agreed to follow

Caucus: getting together outside the regular meeting to decide on plans, position, policy and/or people to nominate

Chair: the position held by the meeting leader

Committee: a group that reviews and reports on a special task given to them by the larger membership; a committee may recommend actions to be taken based upon its findings

General consent: approval by the group. If even one member objects, a vote must be taken.

Majority opinion: the decision of more than half the voting members

Minority opinion: the position held by less than half of the voting members

Minutes: official record of a meeting

Motion: a member's proposal for action

Nominate: to recommend a person for election to office

Pending: still undecided

Personal privilege: calling attention to something having to do with the well being of the people at the meeting, such as asking to have a window opened

Point of information: asking for more information before making a decision

Point of order: correcting a mistake that is against the rules of the organization

Pro tern: temporary

Proxy: permission given, usually in writing, by one member for another member to vote in his or her name

Orders of the day: calling for the group to get back to the agenda or the main business of the meeting

Question: a motion that is under discussion with a vote to be taken on it

Recess: taking a short break

Rescind: to take back or withdraw

Resolution: usually a policy statement being suggested to the group for approval

Second: support for a motion; before a group can address a proposal, it must know that two people want to have it discussed

Standing Committee: a committee that goes year-round such as a program planning committee

Suspending the rules: discussing something without adhering to the rules of the meeting

Veto: to vote no on a motion or idea.