Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Conclave

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is conclave. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

conclave can be a private meeting, a secret assembly, or a general gathering.

// A conclave of regional leaders of the international organization is meeting in June.

CONCLAVE in Context

“Until Franklin Roosevelt invited King George VI and the Queen Mother for a visit in 1939, no reigning British ruler had ever set foot on American soil. With the clouds of war on the horizon, their conclave was a key element in bolstering the relationship between the two nations.” — Jonathan L. Stolz, The Virginia Gazette, 24 Jan. 2022

Did You Know?

Conclave comes from a Latin word meaning “room that can be locked up” (from the Latin com-, “together,” and clavis, “key”). The English conclave 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. The meaning of conclave has also expanded to include gatherings that are not necessarily secret or private but simply involve people with shared interests.

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