Definition of conclave in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkänˌklāv/


1A private meeting.
Example sentences
  • It came on the eve of a meeting of the G20-a conclave of developed and developing nations - in Berlin at which the recent fall in the dollar was a hot topic.
  • Today's chief executive participates in recurring summit conclaves of world leaders and in recurring bilateral conferences, one on one, with other presidents-from Russia to El Salvador.
  • With the single exception of Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election convention in Chicago, these national Democratic conclaves have always been fraught with peril.
(private) meeting, gathering, assembly, conference, council, summit
informal parley, powwow, get-together
1.1(In the Roman Catholic Church) the assembly of cardinals for the election of a pope.
Example sentences
  • Conventional wisdom says that whoever goes into the conclave as pope exits as cardinal.
  • The next conclave will elect the church's 264th pope.
  • History offers plentiful examples of conclaves where the cardinals appointed by one pope elected a very different successor.
1.2The meeting place for a conclave.
Example sentences
  • Each has a ‘manager’ employed by the brothel owner, whose business it is to deal with clients and guard the conclave like a prison.
  • But once those men walk in that door, once they lock in the door in the conclave, they're going to be looking for a man, a person who embodies, as Father Harrington noted, certain gifts and talents.


Late Middle English (denoting a private room): via French from Latin conclave 'lockable room', from con- 'with' + clavis 'key'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: con·clave

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