pow·​wow | \ ˈpau̇-ˌwau̇ How to pronounce powwow (audio) \

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

3 informal, now offensive

a : 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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Owner Alexandra Lehmann plans to work with Narragansett Indian Tribe (who host a powwow in Charlestown every year, dating back nearly 350 years) as well as with the Tomaquag Museum in Exeter to bring two books about the Narragansett back into print. Nina Maclaughlin, BostonGlobe.com, "A battlefield of letters, a pair of new bookstores, and myth connections from a beloved poet," 22 Aug. 2019 The division’s Chief Executive David Joyce had some good news at the biennial industry powwow this week. Lauren Silva Laughlin, WSJ, "Aviation Turbulence Is Another Big Risk for GE," 18 June 2019 Today, the powwow that accompanies the Celilo First Salmon ceremony, usually held in mid-April at the village longhouse, is open to the public, with a salmon picnic to follow. Corey Arnold, National Geographic, "Why wild salmon remains king in the Pacific Northwest," 27 Mar. 2019 Tony has his own reasons for attending the powwow, ones that take the story in a direction that is as contemporary, tragic, and American as a breaking news alert. Joan Gaylord, The Christian Science Monitor, "'There There' weaves a powerful tale of contemporary urban Native Americans," 2 July 2018 Next step for self-care within the 9-to-5 grind at 1 World Trade Center: crystal eye masks and powwows with Jimmy Fallon on the phone. Vogue, "Comedian Ken Jeong Interns in Vogue’s Beauty Closet, Discovers the Power of Sheet Masks," 18 Dec. 2018 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

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.

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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

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Dictionary Entries near powwow








Statistics for powwow

Last Updated

26 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for powwow

The first known use of powwow was in 1624

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More Definitions for powwow



English Language Learners Definition of powwow

: a social gathering of Native Americans that usually includes dancing
informal : a meeting for people to discuss something


pow·​wow | \ ˈpau̇-ˌwau̇ How to pronounce powwow (audio) \

Kids Definition of powwow

1 : an American Indian ceremony or social gathering
2 : a meeting for discussion

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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).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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