Word of the Day : February 25, 2012


noun KAHN-klayv


1 : a private meeting or secret assembly

2 : a gathering of a group or association

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.


"The shadowy world of Ministers' meetings and security service conclaves ... was never explored." -- From an article by Mary Riddell in The Observer, February 2004

"On Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Lin and other village leaders met to discuss their options and decided to call off the public protests and to reopen access to the village.… After that conclave, the village leaders held a rally with more than 1,000 residents in a public square and told the audience about the new agreement." -- From an article by Edward Wong in The New York Times, December 22, 2011

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