pow·​wow | \ˈpau̇-ˌwau̇ \

Definition of powwow 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an American Indian medicine man

2a : an American Indian ceremony (as for victory in war)

b : an American Indian social gathering or fair usually including competitive dancing

3a : a social get-together

b : a meeting for discussion


powwowed; powwowing; powwows

Definition of powwow (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to hold a powwow

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of powwow in a Sentence


We'll talk about vacation plans at the family powwow. all the departments met for a brief powwow after lunch


civic leaders powwowed for hours trying to resolve the issue
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Native American Student Alliance at Cuyamaca College will host a daylong powwow on Saturday at the Rancho San Diego Campus. Karen Pearlman, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Powwow coming to Cuyamaca," 29 Jan. 2018 Lacrosse demonstrations, amateur boxing and the contest powwow are just a few of the many events to enjoy on Milwaukee’s lakefront. Elaine Rewolinski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Summer Guide: Festivals and free concerts, Aug. 27-Sept. 2," 26 Aug. 2017 Tuesday’s powwow was brokered by liberal South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has reached out to North Korea, the land his parent’s fled on a U.N. supply ship during the 1950-53 Korean War that cleaved the two nations apart. Time, "Singapore's Sentosa Island Takes an Unlikely Geopolitical Role as Host of the Trump-Kim Summit," 11 June 2018 For everyone involved, the powwow is a shifty, ambivalent avatar of Indianness, an identity that many of these characters feel themselves to be playing at. Constance Grady, Vox, "Tommy Orange’s There There is the novel of the summer," 2 July 2018 Weekly powwows are held on Thursdays in the summer. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin bucket list: 20 things you have to do," 17 May 2018 At a powwow in 2000 in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, Madeleine Albright, then America’s secretary of state, was greeted with mass callisthenics and bayonet drills. The Economist, "Talks between America and North Korea might succeed—at a terrible price," 7 June 2018 The characters play around with drones, listen to MF Doom or electronic music with powwow drum samples or Beethoven, exchange texts and send emails that never get a response. Chelsea Leu, San Francisco Chronicle, "‘There There,’ by Tommy Orange," 6 June 2018 There’s something profound about bringing these characters together for a powwow–that space is unique in its ability to gather a conglomeration of identities, cultures and families. Time, "In Conversation With Two Rising Voices in Native American Literature," 22 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The two powwowed at a Los Angeles hotel one evening while the vice president was in the state for a fundraising swing. Elizabeth Landers, CNN, "Vice President Mike Pence met with Elon Musk, source says," 3 Nov. 2017 And the company is powwowing with Hollywood execs about bundling original shows, and possibly movies, with its Apple Music Service. Patrick May, The Mercury News, "Apple reportedly wading into the streaming video business," 13 Jan. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'powwow.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of powwow


1624, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1642, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for powwow


Narragansett powwaw or Massachusett pauwau

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about powwow

Dictionary Entries near powwow








Statistics for powwow

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for powwow

The first known use of powwow was in 1624

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for powwow



English Language Learners Definition of powwow

: a social gathering of Native Americans that usually includes dancing

: a meeting for people to discuss something


pow·​wow | \ˈpau̇-ˌwau̇ \

Kids Definition of powwow

1 : an American Indian ceremony or social gathering

2 : a meeting for discussion

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on powwow

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with powwow

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for powwow

Spanish Central: Translation of powwow

Nglish: Translation of powwow for Spanish Speakers

Comments on powwow

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


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Add Diction

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!