AskDefine | Define adjourn

Dictionary Definition



1 close at the end of a session; "The court adjourned" [syn: recess, break up]
2 break from a meeting or gathering; "We adjourned for lunch"; "The men retired to the library" [syn: withdraw, retire]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. To postpone.
  2. Temporarily ending an event with intentions to complete it at another time or place.
  3. Of an event: To end or suspend
  4. To move from one place to another.



To postpone
  • Spanish: posponer
Temporarily ending an event with intentions to complete it at another time or place
  • Spanish: aplazar
Of an event: To end or suspend
  • Spanish: aplazarse
To move from one place to another

See also

Extensive Definition

To adjourn means to suspend until a later stated time.


In law, adjournment means to suspend proceedings to another time or place.
E.g. Counsel was not prepared for trial, so she requested an adjournment of the trial until a later date.

Parliamentary Procedure

Under Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised a deliberative assembly adjourns when it is finished with business for the time being. If no time or method has been fixed to reconvene the assembly, adjournment has the effect of dissolving the body. A motion to adjourn is normally a privileged motion, unless qualified in some way, (such as "Adjourn at 10 PM.") or unless adjournment would dissolve the assembly, in which case it must be a main motion. When privileged, the motion yields to a motion to fix the time to which to adjourn, since that matter must be decided first.


Some boardgames, like Chess or Go, use an adjournment mechanism to suspend the game in progress so it can be continued at another time, typically the following day. The rationale is that games often extend in duration beyond what is reasonable for a single session of play. As in Chess, there is sometimes a sealed move, where the next move that would be made is sealed in an envelope, to be played out (usually by an independent third party).


In chess, the practice of adjournment is far less common today than it was a few decades ago, due to a trend towards shorter time controls and the advent of strong chess computers.
Schedules allowing for adjournment usually fall into either of two categories:
  • 2½ hours per player for the first forty moves, followed by adjournment (a five hour session)
  • two hours per player for the first forty moves, followed by one hour for the next twenty moves, followed by adjournment (a six hour session)
The rules for adjourning a game are as follows:
  1. Once the time control has passed, either player has the option of adjourning, and may do so on their move.
  2. If a player exercises that option, they lose as much time on their clock as there is until the end of that session.
  3. When the duration of the session has ended, it is imperative for the player with the move to adjourn the game.
  4. A player adjourns the game by recording their move secretly in an envelope and sealing it. Upon resumption, the arbiter makes the sealed move and the game continues.
The first three rules are designed to encourage players to continue games until the end of the session, but no longer. The last rule, while seemingly bizarre, is the only way to adjourn a game fairly: the alternative of suspending a game in a position known to both players gives a big advantage to the player who has the move upon resumption, since they get to choose the best continuation after a thorough analysis. As such, the rule ensures that neither player knows upon adjournment what the position will be when it is next their turn to move. However it is generally considered advantageous to be the player to make the sealed move; especially if the move forces a specific response from the other player. Considerations on when to adjourn a game can be complex, and often involve an extra dimension of psychology that is not part of the strictly logical struggle on the board. Analysis of adjourned positions is an art in itself.
With the advent of strong chess playing computer programs, which could be used to analyze an adjourned positions, most tournaments have abandoned adjourning games in favor of shorter time controls. The first World Chess Championship not to use adjournments was the Classical World Chess Championship 1995, while the last one to use adjournments was the FIDE World Chess Championship 1996.


Adjournments are common in long matches of the game of Go. Major Japanese title matches like the Honinbo, Kisei and Meijin commonly have thinking time of over 8 hours per player. Such matches are played over 2 days and use a sealed move during the adjournment. As in Chess, a sealed move may have a forced response, giving an advantage to the sealing player. Sealing a move that has no purpose beside forcing a particular answer is considered poor etiquette.

Other games

Other games that use adjournments and sealed moves are typically also strategic two player board games, such as XiangQi or Shogi.


adjourn in German: Hängepartie
adjourn in Dutch: Afgebroken partij
adjourn in Serbian: Ковертирани потез

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

break up, close, continue, curb, defer, delay, disband, discontinue, disperse, dissolve, drag out, extend, hang fire, hang up, hold back, hold off, hold over, hold up, lay aside, lay by, lay over, pigeonhole, postpone, prolong, prorogate, prorogue, protract, push aside, put aside, put off, put on ice, recess, reserve, restrain, rise, set aside, set by, shelve, shift off, sleep on, stand over, stave off, stay, stretch out, suspend, table, take a recess, terminate, waive
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