town meeting


town meeting
1. a general meeting of the inhabitants of a town.
2. (esp. in New England) a legislative assembly of the qualified voters of a town.
[1630-40]

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Legislative assembly of a U.S. town in which all or some voters are empowered to conduct the community's affairs.

Town meetings first took place in New England in the colonial era and are still largely a New England phenomenon, partly because the region's towns tend to hold powers that are granted to counties elsewhere. The meetings are normally held annually. Executive authority is usually held by a three-or five-member board. Open town meetings, which are widely regarded as an exceptionally pure form of democracy, allow all registered voters to vote on articles listed on the agenda, or warrant; representative town meetings allow only elected members to vote.

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▪ United States local government
      in the United States, an assembly of local qualified voters in whom is vested the governmental authority of a town. Town meetings are a particularly popular form of governmental administration in New England, where a town is a geographic unit, the equivalent of a civil township elsewhere. In New England, towns are granted powers that are granted only to counties elsewhere, as well as their ordinary municipal powers. County government is therefore comparatively insignificant.

      At the meetings, which may be held periodically or on demand, officials and school boards may be elected or chosen to govern between meetings; ordinances may be adopted; and taxes and expenditures may be debated and voted upon. Because of the extraordinary autonomy granted each town, New England state legislatures end up being among the largest in the United States.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Town meeting — Town Town, n. [OE. toun, tun, AS. tun inclosure, fence, village, town; akin to D. tuin a garden, G. zaun a hadge, fence, OHG. zun, Icel. tun an inclosure, homestead, house, Ir. & Gael. dun a fortress, W. din. Cf. {Down}, adv. & prep., {Dune},… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • town meeting — ☆ town meeting n. 1. a meeting of the people of a town 2. esp. in New England, a meeting of the qualified voters of a town to act upon town business …   English World dictionary

  • town meeting — noun count AMERICAN a meeting where people discuss problems affecting the town where they live a. a meeting at which the people of a town or city can meet a national politician to ask questions and talk about issues …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • town meeting — n AmE a meeting at which the people who live in a town discuss subjects or problems that affect their town …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Town meeting — A town meeting is a form of direct democratic rule, used primarily in portions of the United States since the 17th century, in which most or all the members of a community come together to legislate policy and budgets for local government. The… …   Wikipedia

  • town meeting — noun 1. government of a town by an assembly of the qualified voters (Freq. 4) • Hypernyms: ↑local government 2. a meeting of the inhabitants of a town (Freq. 1) • Hypernyms: ↑meeting, ↑group meeting * * * noun, p …   Useful english dictionary

  • town meeting — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms town meeting : singular town meeting plural town meetings American a meeting where people discuss problems affecting the town where they live …   English dictionary

  • town meeting — Synonyms and related words: airing, analysis, assembly, bicameral legislature, board of aldermen, buzz session, canvassing, chamber of deputies, city board, city council, collective farm, collectivism, collectivity, collegiality, colloquium,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • town meeting — meeting of residents of a town; legislative assembly held to pass town by laws and regulations; informal meeting in which a political candidate meets voters and addresses their concerns …   English contemporary dictionary

  • town meeting — town′ meet′ing n. 1) gov a general meeting of the inhabitants of a town 2) gov (esp. in New England) a legislative assembly of the qualified voters of a town • Etymology: 1630–40 …   From formal English to slang


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