conclave

noun
con·clave | \ ˈkän-ˌklāv \

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

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Did You Know?

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.

Examples of conclave in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Republicans held a long conclave Thursday night in anticipation of a Friday vote. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "Proposed DACA pathway complicates border wall funding," 25 June 2018 In 1963, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini was chosen during a conclave of his fellow cardinals to succeed the late Pope John XXIII; the new pope took the name Paul VI. BostonGlobe.com, "This day in history," 20 June 2018 Some extras said they were assigned to portray an actual cardinal during the historic conclave that elected Francis. New York Times, "‘Extra’ Cardinals Invade the Vatican (Blessings Not Included)," 9 May 2018 Art Is Now More Permanent Than Perishable The robots, monsters and other harum-scarum works of art at Burning Man aren’t all destined for a pyre at the annual conclave in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Brenda Cronin, WSJ, "Met Museum Brings Some Versailles to New York," 31 Mar. 2018 Pope Francis, Benedict’s successor, ultimately permitted him to retain the title of cardinal but, in effect, stripped him of all privileges associated with that rank, including the right to vote in any Vatican conclave. Sam Roberts, BostonGlobe.com, "Keith O’Brien, 80, Scottish cardinal ousted in sex scandal," 20 Mar. 2018 With the possible exceptions of the Olympic Games and the verdict of a papal conclave, no other recurring event is capable of inspiring so much global fervor. Leo Robson, The New Yorker, "How We Watch Soccer Now," 5 Dec. 2016 Pope Francis, Benedict’s successor, ultimately permitted him to retain the title of cardinal but, in effect, stripped him of all privileges associated with that rank, including the right to vote in any Vatican conclave. Sam Roberts, BostonGlobe.com, "Keith O’Brien, 80, Scottish cardinal ousted in sex scandal," 20 Mar. 2018 Two top Vatican officials will also receive the honor of joining churchmen who vote for new popes in secret conclaves. Frances D'emilio, USA TODAY, "Pope Francis to create 14 new cardinals in June," 20 May 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for conclave

Last Updated

9 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for conclave

The first known use of conclave was in 1524

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More Definitions for conclave

conclave

noun

English Language Learners Definition of conclave

: a private or secret meeting or group

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