Skip to main content
Select Source:

committee

committee, one or more persons appointed or elected to consider, report on, or take action on a particular matter. Because of the advantages of a division of labor, legislative committees of various kinds have assumed much of the work of legislatures in many nations. Standing committees are appointed in both houses of the U.S. Congress at the beginning of every session to deal with bills in the different specific classes. Important congressional committees include ways and means; appropriations; commerce; armed services; foreign relations; and judiciary. The number, but not the scope, of the committees was much reduced in 1946. Since then there has been a large increase in the number of subcommittees, which have become steadily more important.

Members of committees are in effect elected by caucuses of the two major parties in Congress; the majority party is given the chairmanship and majority on each committee, and chairmanships, as well as membership on important committees, are influenced by seniority, but seniority is no longer the sole deciding factor and others may override it. The presiding officer of either house may appoint special committees, including those of investigation, which have the power to summon witnesses and compel the submission of evidence. The presiding officers also appoint committees of conference to obtain agreement between the two houses on the content of bills of the same general character. The U.S. legislative committee system conducts most congressional business through its powers of scrutiny and investigation of government departments.

In France the constitution of the Fifth Republic permits each legislative chamber to have no more than six standing committees. Because these committees are large, unofficial committees have formed that do much of the real work of examining bills. As in the U.S. government, these committees are quite powerful because of their ability to delay legislation. In Great Britain devices such as committees of the whole are used in the consideration of money bills and there are large standing committees of the House of Commons, but committees have not been very important in the British legislature. Recently attempts have been made to form specialized committees.

See L. A. Froman, The Congressional Process (1967); G. Goodwin, Jr., The Little Legislatures (1970); Congressional Quarterly, Guide to Congress (3d ed. 1982).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"committee." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"committee." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/committee

"committee." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved October 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/committee

committee

com·mit·tee / kəˈmitē/ • n. 1. [treated as sing. or pl.] a group of people appointed for a specific function, typically consisting of members of a larger group: the housing committee | [as adj.] a committee meeting. ∎  such a body appointed by a legislature to consider the details of proposed legislation: there was much scrutiny in committee. 2. Law a person who has been judicially committed to the charge of another because of insanity or mental retardation. ∎  Brit. a person entrusted with the charge of another person or another person's property.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"committee." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"committee." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/committee-0

"committee." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved October 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/committee-0

Committee

COMMITTEE

An individual or group of people to whom authority has been delegated by a larger group to perform a particular function or duty. A part of a legislative body made up of one or more individuals who have been assigned the task of investigating a certain issue and reporting their observations and recommendations to the legislature. The Senate has various committees, such as the Committee on Nuclear Energy. The name given to the person or group of people appointed by a court and charged with the responsibility of acting as the guardian of an incompetent person.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Committee." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Committee." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/law/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/committee

"Committee." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . Retrieved October 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/law/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/committee

Committee

Committee

a group of people appointed or elected to administer, discuss, or make reports concerning a subject on which its members are authorities.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Committee." Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Committee." Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/committee

"Committee." Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. . Retrieved October 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/committee

committee

committee
A. (surviving leg.) one to whom a charge is committed XV;

B. body of persons appointed for a special business XVII. f. COMMIT + -EE 1.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"committee." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"committee." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/committee-1

"committee." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved October 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/committee-1

committee

committeebanditti, bitty, chitty, city, committee, ditty, gritty, intercity, kitty, nitty-gritty, Pitti, pity, pretty, shitty, slitty, smriti, spitty, titty, vittae, witty •fifty, fifty-fifty, nifty, shifty, swiftie, thrifty •guilty, kiltie, silty •flinty, linty, minty, shinty •ballistae, Christie, Corpus Christi, misty, twisty, wristy •sixty •deity, gaiety (US gayety), laity, simultaneity, spontaneity •contemporaneity, corporeity, femineity, heterogeneity, homogeneity •anxiety, contrariety, dubiety, impiety, impropriety, inebriety, notoriety, piety, satiety, sobriety, ubiety, variety •moiety •acuity, ambiguity, annuity, assiduity, congruity, contiguity, continuity, exiguity, fatuity, fortuity, gratuity, ingenuity, perpetuity, perspicuity, promiscuity, suety, superfluity, tenuity, vacuity •rabbity •improbity, probity •acerbity • witchetty • crotchety •heredity •acidity, acridity, aridity, avidity, cupidity, flaccidity, fluidity, frigidity, humidity, hybridity, insipidity, intrepidity, limpidity, liquidity, lividity, lucidity, morbidity, placidity, putridity, quiddity, rabidity, rancidity, rapidity, rigidity, solidity, stolidity, stupidity, tepidity, timidity, torpidity, torridity, turgidity, validity, vapidity •commodity, oddity •immodesty, modesty •crudity, nudity •fecundity, jocundity, moribundity, profundity, rotundity, rubicundity •absurdity • difficulty • gadgety •majesty • fidgety • rackety •pernickety, rickety •biscuity •banality, duality, fatality, finality, ideality, legality, locality, modality, morality, natality, orality, reality, regality, rurality, tonality, totality, venality, vitality, vocality •fidelity •ability, agility, civility, debility, docility, edibility, facility, fertility, flexility, fragility, futility, gentility, hostility, humility, imbecility, infantility, juvenility, liability, mobility, nihility, nobility, nubility, puerility, senility, servility, stability, sterility, tactility, tranquillity (US tranquility), usability, utility, versatility, viability, virility, volatility •ringlety •equality, frivolity, jollity, polity, quality •credulity, garrulity, sedulity •nullity •amity, calamity •extremity • enmity •anonymity, dimity, equanimity, magnanimity, proximity, pseudonymity, pusillanimity, unanimity •comity •conformity, deformity, enormity, multiformity, uniformity •subcommittee • pepperminty •infirmity •Christianity, humanity, inanity, profanity, sanity, urbanity, vanity •amnesty •lenity, obscenity, serenity •indemnity, solemnity •mundanity • amenity •affinity, asininity, clandestinity, divinity, femininity, infinity, masculinity, salinity, trinity, vicinity, virginity •benignity, dignity, malignity •honesty •community, immunity, importunity, impunity, opportunity, unity •confraternity, eternity, fraternity, maternity, modernity, paternity, taciturnity •serendipity, snippety •uppity •angularity, barbarity, bipolarity, charity, circularity, clarity, complementarity, familiarity, granularity, hilarity, insularity, irregularity, jocularity, linearity, parity, particularity, peculiarity, polarity, popularity, regularity, secularity, similarity, singularity, solidarity, subsidiarity, unitarity, vernacularity, vulgarity •alacrity • sacristy •ambidexterity, asperity, austerity, celerity, dexterity, ferrety, posterity, prosperity, severity, sincerity, temerity, verity •celebrity • integrity • rarity •authority, inferiority, juniority, majority, minority, priority, seniority, sonority, sorority, superiority •mediocrity • sovereignty • salubrity •entirety •futurity, immaturity, impurity, maturity, obscurity, purity, security, surety •touristy •audacity, capacity, fugacity, loquacity, mendacity, opacity, perspicacity, pertinacity, pugnacity, rapacity, sagacity, sequacity, tenacity, veracity, vivacity, voracity •laxity •sparsity, varsity •necessity •complexity, perplexity •density, immensity, propensity, tensity •scarcity • obesity •felicity, toxicity •fixity, prolixity •benedicite, nicety •anfractuosity, animosity, atrocity, bellicosity, curiosity, fabulosity, ferocity, generosity, grandiosity, impecuniosity, impetuosity, jocosity, luminosity, monstrosity, nebulosity, pomposity, ponderosity, porosity, preciosity, precocity, reciprocity, religiosity, scrupulosity, sinuosity, sumptuosity, velocity, verbosity, virtuosity, viscosity •paucity • falsity • caducity • russety •adversity, biodiversity, diversity, perversity, university •sacrosanctity, sanctity •chastity •entity, identity •quantity • certainty •cavity, concavity, depravity, gravity •travesty • suavity •brevity, levity, longevity •velvety • naivety •activity, nativity •equity •antiquity, iniquity, obliquity, ubiquity •propinquity

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"committee." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"committee." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/committee

"committee." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved October 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/committee