Adjourn Details

To adjourn is the act of ending or suspending a meeting or gathering. It is the verb for the noun adjournment. It can also mean moving to another location. The word adjourn is commonly found in legal matters where a judge will adjourn a court proceeding. In parliamentary procedures, an adjournment will end an assembly. A meeting leader may also decide to adjourn the meeting if there are no more questions or things to discuss.

You can adjourn a meeting indefinitely or with a set motion of when it will resume again later. So, although the adjournment of a gathering at the end of one day completes the meeting for that day, the same group of people may meet up to discuss the same topic at a later time, date, or place. When referring to a location movement, adjourning a gathering in one location ends it there but can continue it elsewhere.

Examples Of Using Adjourn

You may have heard a judge say that the court is adjourned until 9 AM tomorrow. Or a case may be adjourned to a different court location or date. The use of the word can occur in a court situation for various reasons. Examples include a conflicting court date, a key witness is taken away suddenly, or time is required for additional evidence to be gathered.

While the word adjourn is commonly found in court, public meetings, and legislative assemblies, you can also use it in everyday scenarios. The manager of a company may adjourn a meeting on budgets. In the context of moving to a new place, you can also say, "After dinner, let's adjourn to the park." or "Shall we adjourn to the bar for drinks?"

Types of Adjournment

You can adjourn a meeting, assembly, or court proceeding in a final or temporary manner. To temporarily adjourn, the group of people involved in the meeting will meet again at another appointed time and date on the same topic.

A final adjournment means there will be no more meetings regarding a certain matter. The group is dismissing it from consideration. You can also sometimes refer to this as "sine die."

Adjourn vs. Recess

Although sometimes these terms are used interchangeably, the main difference between adjourn and recess is that the word adjourn refers to an end in a meeting, while recess is to take a break. A recess may occur mid-meeting, like a break for lunch, before the meeting continues again on the same day. A recess can also refer to a longer period off, such as holiday breaks.

The U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress, and other legislative bodies often declare whether they are taking a recess or adjourning at the end of the day. An adjourned meeting means that the next meeting will begin a new legislative day. In contrast, if they recess the meeting at the end of the day, the next meeting will continue as the same legislative day, even if it is on another calendar day.

This distinction between adjourning and calling a recess can be crucial when voting on bills that require two votes on two separate days. New legislative days also start with a morning business period, and the Senate can skip this process if the previous day ended with a recess.

Adjourn vs. Sojourn

These two words are often confused because they have similar spellings and sounds. However, they have two very different meanings. A sojourn refers to a short visit or the time someone spends in a location other than their home. It usually refers to a short stay. In contrast, adjourn is to end or postpone a meeting for a period of time.