Definition of conclave
- The conclave elected the new pope on the fifth ballot.
- the annual conclave of newspaper publishers
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These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'conclave.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Ever wonder what happens behind locked doors? The etymology of conclave begs this question as the word comes from a Latin term meaning "room that can be locked up." The English word formerly had the same meaning, but that use is now obsolete. Today, "conclave" refers not to the locked rooms but to the private meetings and secret assemblies that occur within them. "Conclave" is especially likely to refer to a meeting of Roman Catholic cardinals who have secluded themselves to choose a pope, but it can refer to other types of private or secret meetings as well. The meaning of "conclave" has also expanded to include gatherings that are not necessarily secret or private but simply involve people with shared interests.
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