con·​clave | \ ˈkän-ˌklāv How to pronounce conclave (audio) \

Definition of conclave

1 : a private meeting or secret assembly especially : a meeting of Roman Catholic cardinals secluded continuously while choosing a pope The conclave elected the new pope on the fifth ballot.
2 : a gathering of a group or association the annual conclave of newspaper publishers

Did you know?

Conclave comes from a Latin word meaning "room that can be locked up" (from the Latin com-, "together," and clavis, "key"). The English conclave 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. The meaning of conclave has also expanded to include gatherings that are not necessarily secret or private but simply involve people with shared interests.

Examples of conclave in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Cardinal Hummes was sitting near Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio during the latest conclave, and, according to the pope himself, the Brazilian encouraged him as the vote neared the end. Mauricio Savarese,, 4 July 2022 Phillips and Pereira’s disappearance coincided with the Summit of the Americas, a conclave of hemispheric leaders, convened this year in Los Angeles and presided over by President Joe Biden. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, 28 June 2022 This story was picked up by other outlets, causing The Boston Globe to send a team of reporters to cover the conclave. The Salt Lake Tribune, 23 June 2022 That shift has only added to the unpredictability that figures to come with the next conclave. Stefano Pitrelli, Washington Post, 7 June 2022 At least 16 of the new cardinals will be younger than 80 and thus eligible to vote for the next pontiff in secret conclave., 29 May 2022 After the next consistory, the number of voting-age cardinals from Asia and Africa will have nearly doubled, compared with the conclave that elected Francis. Stefano Pitrelli, Washington Post, 7 June 2022 If Francis chooses to resign during the August consistory, that consistory would automatically become a conclave, with the cardinal-electors locked in the Sistine Chapel until a new pope has been chosen. Grayson Quay, The Week, 7 June 2022 Sixteen of those cardinals are under age 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave to elect Francis’ successor. Nicole Winfield, ajc, 5 June 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of conclave

1524, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for conclave

Middle English, from Middle French or Medieval Latin; Middle French, from Medieval Latin, from Latin, room that can be locked up, from com- + clavis key — more at clavicle

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The first known use of conclave was in 1524

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Last Updated

26 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Conclave.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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