Glossary of Parliamentarian Terms

Parliamentary Procedure Resources: Glossary of Parliamentarian Terms

Parliamentary Procedure Resources: Glossary

There are many, many terms and definitions associated with Parmliamentary Procedure. Hopefully this glossary of terms will help you better understand Robert's Rules of Order, agendas, meeting minutes, motions, meeting rules and formats, and the parliamentary process.

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Parliamentary procedure terms on this page start with the letter "A". To view other terms select the letter below.
A B C D E F G H I L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y

Parliamentary Procedure Definitions on This Page.....
absentee voting abstain abstention accept
acclamation ad hoc adhering to the motion Adjourn
adjourned meeting adjournment sine die administrative year adopt
affirmative vote agenda alternate Amend
Amend by adding Amend by inserting Amend by striking out Amend by striking out and inserting
Amend by substituting Amend Something Previously Adopted amendable Amendment
American Institute of Parliamentarians (AIP) announcement of the vote annual meeting annual meeting rules
Appeal from the Decision of the Chair (Appeal) appoint approve articles of incorporation
assembly assessment asynchronous meetings attendance via a communication method
audit aye    

top of pageabsentee voting

Just as the name implies, this type of voting is done by a person who is not in attendance at the meeting. The bylaws must expressly authorize it before it is allowed.

top of pageabstain

To verbally refrain from voting. Frequently the reason for abstaining is a conflict of interest.

top of pageabstention

The result of abstaining from voting. Because the abstention is not voting, it does not count as a vote cast.

top of pageaccept

To adopt or approve a motion or report. The effect of accepting, adopting, or approving a report is the assembly endorses the report in its entirety, every word of it.

top of pageacclamation

An election by unanimous consent.

top of pagead hoc

A special committee. The term comes from a Latin term meaning “to this” and refers to a committee formed for a particular purpose.

top of pageadhering to the motion

A motion is considered adhering to the motion or question if it is made while the motion it is adhering to is pending. For example, a main motion is made. While it is being discussed, an Amendment is made to that Main Motion. The Amendment is adhering to the main motion. Adhering motions remain connected to the main motion even if the motion is interrupted, Referred, Postponed, or temporarily disposed of.

top of pageAdjourn

A motion to close the meeting.

top of pageadjourned meeting

A meeting that is a continuation of a previous meeting. It occurs when the work was not completed at a regular or special meeting and there was a motion to continue the meeting at a different time. The original meeting and the adjourned meeting make up a single session. Because it is a continuation of a previous meeting, special notice of the meeting doesn’t need to be sent to the membership. The adjourned meeting begins on the agenda where the meeting it is continuing left off.

top of pageadjournment sine die (pronounced SIGN-ee DYE-ee)

A Latin term which means “without day.” It is the final adjournment of an assembly. The last meeting of the convention is said to adjourn sine die.

top of pageadministrative year

While not a parliamentary term, this term refers to the time period in which the officers remains in office without need for re-election.

top of pageadopt

To accept or approve a motion or report. The effect of accepting, adopting, or approving a report is the assembly endorses the report in its entirety, every word of it.

top of pageaffirmative vote

A vote in favor of the adoption of the motion.

top of pageagenda

A predetermined sequence of items of business to be covered at a specific meeting; an order of business. The prescribed agenda for organizations that have regular meetings at least quarterly and have Robert’s Rules as their parliamentary authority is: approval of minutes; reports of officers, boards, and standing committees; reports of special committees; special orders; unfinished business and general orders; and new business.

top of pagealternate

A member authorized to substitute for another member.

top of pageAmend

A motion to modify the pending motion before it is voted on.

top of pageAmend by adding

One of the forms of a motion to Amend. This form places a word or consecutive words or a paragraph at the end of a motion.

top of pageAmend by inserting

One of the forms of a motion to Amend. This form places a word or consecutive words or a paragraph in the beginning or the middle of a motion.

top of pageAmend by striking out

One of the forms of a motion to Amend. This form takes out a word or consecutive words or a paragraph in a motion.

top of pageAmend by striking out and inserting

One of the forms of a motion to Amend. This form strikes out a word or consecutive words and inserts a word or consecutive words in its place.

top of pageAmend by substituting

One of the forms of a motion to Amend. This form strikes out a paragraph or more and inserts another paragraph or more.

top of pageAmend Something Previously Adopted

A motion that allows the assembly to change an action previously taken. This motion can be applied to a motion adopted at a previous meeting provided that none of the action involved has been carried out in a way that it is too late to undo.

top of pageamendable

When a motion is amendable, it can be modified during the time it is pending (Step 4)

top of pageAmendment

A motion that proposes a change to the wording of a pending motion.

top of pageAmerican Institute of Parliamentarians (AIP)

A professional organization of parliamentarians that emphasizes knowledge of Robert’s, Sturgis, and other parliamentary authorities.

top of pageannouncement of the vote

The sixth step in the processing of a motion. In a complete announcement, the chair states the following: the results of the vote, declaration of whether the motion passed or failed, the effect of the vote, and the next item of business.

top of pageannual meeting

A meeting held yearly usually for the purpose of electing officers and receiving the annual reports of current officers and committees. The annual meeting is usually specified in the bylaws. You may also find in the bylaws what business can be brought up at the annual meeting as well as whether the annual meeting is considered a regular meeting, thus having the flexibility of a regular meeting. Sometimes certain subjects, for example, bylaw amendments, can only be acted on at the annual meeting.

top of pageannual meeting rules

These are rules that are adopted for a single meeting and may include parliamentary rules.

top of pageAppeal from the Decision of the Chair (Appeal)

A motion to take a decision regarding parliamentary procedure out of the hands of the presiding officer and place the final decision in the hands of the assembly.

top of pageappoint

To name or assign a person to an office, a position, or a committee.

top of pageapprove

This term is synonymous with ratify, confirm, adopt, or accept. The effect of accepting, adopting, or approving a report is the assembly endorses the report in its entirety, every word of it.

top of pagearticles of incorporation

May also be referred to as the corporate charter. It's the legal instrument required by the state to incorporate an organization.

top of pageassembly

A group of people meeting together to openly discuss issues and make decisions that then become the decision of the group. Also referred to as a deliberative assembly.

top of pageassessment

A fee that is imposed on the members. It must be specifically authorized in the bylaws.

top of pageasynchronous meetings

Electronic meetings that occur with the participants in different places at different times. Venues of asynchronous meetings include, but are not limited to, e-mail, e-mail list groups, and facsimile/fax. Also referred to as nonsynchronistic meetings.

top of pageattendance via a communication method

There are various methods by which a person can attend a meeting electronically, but only as specifically authorized in the bylaws. For example, if a member must miss a meeting because they physically cannot be in the meeting room, then some bylaws authorize that person to attend by video or audioconferencing methods. Unless the bylaws indicate otherwise, that person is considered in attendance at that meeting.

top of pageaudit

An examination and verification of the financial records of the association. Depending upon the size of the organization, an audit may be required by federal or state law. The size of the organization also determines whether the audit can be done by an internal group, usually referred to as the audit committee, or an external, independent auditor.

top of pageaye

Word frequently used in a voice vote to vote in the affirmative. For example, “All those in favor of the motion, say ‘aye’.”

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