con·​ven·​ti·​cle | \ kən-ˈven-ti-kəl How to pronounce conventicle (audio) \

Definition of conventicle

2 : an assembly of an irregular or unlawful character
3 : an assembly for religious worship especially : a secret meeting for worship not sanctioned by law

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from conventicle

conventicler \ kən-​ˈven-​ti-​k(ə-​)lər How to pronounce conventicler (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?

Conventicle comes to us from Latin conventiculum and ultimately from convenire, meaning "to assemble." Conventiculum means "place of assembly" (it was applied in particular to Roman Christian meetinghouses) or simply "assembly." The English "conventicle" also originally meant "assembly." It then developed an application to illegal meetings, which, in turn, led to the arrival of a sense describing secret meetings for worship in a religion proscribed by law. And finally, "conventicle" developed a sense of "meetinghouse," echoing the earlier use of "conventiculum."

First Known Use of conventicle

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for conventicle

Middle English, from Latin conventiculum, diminutive of conventus assembly

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about conventicle

Time Traveler for conventicle

Time Traveler

The first known use of conventicle was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about conventicle

Statistics for conventicle

Cite this Entry

“Conventicle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on conventicle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for conventicle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with conventicle Encyclopedia article about conventicle

Comments on conventicle

What made you want to look up conventicle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!