Definition of camarilla
: a group of unofficial often secret and scheming advisers; also : cabal
camarilla was our Word of the Day on 05/03/2007. Hear the podcast!
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Did You Know?
Camarilla is borrowed from Spanish and is the diminutive of "cámara," which traces to the Late Latin camera and means "room"; a "camarilla," then, is literally a "small room." Political cliques and plotters are likely to meet in small rooms (generally with the door closed) as they hatch their schemes, and, by 1834, "camarilla" was being used in English for such closed-door groups of scheming advisers. The word is relatively rare in formal English prose, but it still finds occasional use in news stories. Some other descendants of the Latin camera include "camera," "comrade," "camaraderie," and "bicameral."
Origin and Etymology of camarilla
Spanish, literally, small room
First Known Use: 1834See Words from the same year
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