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[kleek, klik] /klik, klɪk/
a small, exclusive group of people; coterie; set.
verb (used without object), cliqued, cliquing.
Informal. to form, or associate in, a clique.
Origin of clique
1705-15; < French, apparently metaphorical use of Middle French clique latch, or noun derivative of cliquer to make noise, resound, imitative word parallel to click1
Related forms
cliqueless, adjective
cliquey, cliquy, adjective
cliquism, noun
subclique, noun
Can be confused
claque, clique.
click, clique.
Synonym Study
1. See circle, ring1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for cliquey
Historical Examples
  • I enjoyed the same sort of cliquey reputation and public failure attending a certain novel entitled Marius the Epicurean.

    The Sorrows of Satan Marie Corelli
  • Godalming folks will tell you that Guildford is “cliquey,” by which term I understand exclusiveness to be meant.

  • People here are cliquey, and Carlotta and Peggy are the only girls in the crowd that I've ever known before.

    Brenda's Ward Helen Leah Reed
British Dictionary definitions for cliquey


/ˈkliːkɪ; ˈklɪkɪ/
adjective -ier, -iest
exclusive, confined to a small group; forming cliques


/kliːk; klɪk/
a small, exclusive group of friends or associates
Derived Forms
cliquish, adjective
cliquishly, adverb
cliquishness, noun
Word Origin
C18: from French, perhaps from Old French: latch, from cliquer to click; suggestive of the necessity to exclude nonmembers
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cliquey



1711, "a party of persons; a small set, especially one associating for exclusivity," from obsolete French clique, originally (14c.) "a sharp noise," also "latch, bolt of a door," from Old French cliquer "click, clatter, crackle, clink," 13c., echoic. Apparently this word was at one time treated in French as the equivalent of claque (q.v.) and partook of that word's theatrical sense.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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