Definition of powwow in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈpaʊwaʊ/


1A North American Indian ceremony involving feasting and dancing.
Example sentences
  • I became obsessed and took part in sweat lodge ceremonies, pipe ceremonies, powwows and other Aboriginal spiritual events.
  • With a special pullout calendar of events, it encourages visitors to spend their tourist dollars by attending ethnic festivals or powwows, to feast on authentic cuisine and purchase artifacts from ethnic vendors.
  • That year, there was a national powwow with dances and ceremonies.
2A conference or meeting for discussion, especially among friends or colleagues.
Example sentences
  • Due to the divergent stances of the member nations, the annual powwow had difficulty reaching consensus on major international security issues and resolving economic problems.
  • After the crew ties the boats off to the right-hand bank and scouts the rapid, the two put their heads together for a powwow.
  • One minute, he's in a strategic powwow with top executives, in the next, he's peppered with questions from financial news reporters.


[no object] informal
Hold a powwow; confer: news squads powwowed nervously
More example sentences
  • He will be powwowing with Fortune 500 executives, foreign leaders, and banking magnates, too.
  • They hung around one night after the shelter closed and powwowed about ‘the three most pressing topics we wanted to raise at the staff meeting,’ she says.
  • In a meeting of altruistic minds at Stanford University last spring, 80 members of the tourism, academic, and NGO worlds powwowed on the subject of global giving.


Early 17th century: from Narragansett powah, powwaw 'magician' (literally 'he dreams').

Words that rhyme with powwow

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.