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 conventicle (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 14 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on conventicle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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