Robert’s Rules of Order Revised > Introduction. > Definitions.

Henry M. Robert (1837–1923).  Robert’s Rules of Order Revised.  1915.


In addition to the terms defined above (taking precedence of, yielding to, and applying to [see p. 21]), there are other terms that are liable to be misunderstood, to which attention is called.   1
  Accepting a report is the same as adopting it, and should not be confused with receiving a report, which is allowing it to be presented to the assembly.   2
  Assembly. This term is used for the deliberative assembly, and should be replaced in motions, etc., by the proper name of the body, as society, club, church, board, convention, etc.   3
  The Chair means the presiding officer, whether temporary or permanent.   4
  The terms Congress and H. R., when used in this Manual, refer to the U. S. House of Representatives.   5
  Meeting and Session. Meeting is used in this Manual for an assembling of the members of a deliberative body for any length of time during which they do not separate for longer than a few minutes, as the morning meeting, or the evening meeting, of a convention. In a society with rules providing for regular meetings every week, or month, etc., each of these regular meetings is a separate session. A called or special meeting is a distinct session. Should a regular or special meeting adjourn to meet at another time, the adjourned meeting is a continuation of the session, not a separate one; the two meetings constitute one session. In the case of a convention holding a meeting every year or two, or rather a series of meetings lasting several days, the entire series of meetings constitute one session. [See 63.]   6
  Pending and Immediately Pending. A question is said to be pending when it has been stated by the chair and has not yet been disposed of either permanently or temporarily. When several questions are pending, the one last stated by the chair, and therefore the one to be first disposed of, is said to be the immediately pending question.   7
  A Main motion is one that is made to bring before the assembly any particular subject. No main motion can be made when another motion is pending.   8
  A Subsidiary motion is one that may be applied to a main motion, and to certain other motions, for the purpose of modifying them, delaying action upon them or otherwise disposing of them.   9
  Privileged motions are such that, while having no relation to the pending question, are of such urgency or importance as to require them to take precedence of all other motions.   10
  An Incidental motion is one that arises out of another question which is pending or has just been pending, and must be decided before the pending question, or before other business is taken up. Incidental motions have no fixed rank but take precedence of the questions out of which they arise, whether those questions are main or subsidiary or privileged.   11
  The Previous Question does not refer, as its name would imply, to the previous question, but is the name given to the motion to close debate and at once to take the vote on the immediately pending question and such other questions as are specified in the motion.   12
  A Substitute is an amendment where an entire resolution, or section, or one or more paragraphs, is struck out and another resolution, or section, or one or more paragraphs, is inserted in its place.   13
  Plurality, Majority, and Two-thirds Vote. In an election a candidate has a plurality when he has a larger vote than any other candidate; he has a majority when he has more than half the votes cast, ignoring blanks. In an assembly a plurality never elects except by virtue of a rule to that effect. A majority vote when used in these rules means a majority of the votes cast, ignoring blanks, at a legal meeting, a quorum being present. A two-thirds vote is two-thirds of the votes just described. For an illustration of the difference between a two-thirds vote, a vote of two-thirds of the members present, and a vote of two-thirds of the members see page 204.   14

  The reader is advised to read this Manual in the order suggested in the Plan for the study of Parliamentary Law, page 305.   16

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