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[kuhv-uh n, koh-vuh n] /ˈkʌv ən, ˈkoʊ vən/
an assembly of witches, especially a group of thirteen.
Origin of coven
1500-10 for sense “assembly”; 1655-65 for current sense; variant of obsolete covent assembly, religious group, convent Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for coven
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He nodded, and followed the priest and the worshipers into the main part of the coven.

    The Status Civilization Robert Sheckley
  • At the far end of the block he could see the tiny red light of the coven.

    The Status Civilization Robert Sheckley
  • But he kept on crawling, and at last he reached the door of the coven.

    The Status Civilization Robert Sheckley
  • The Devil sat at the head of the table, and all the coven about.

    The Witch-cult in Western Europe Margaret Alice Murray
  • Helen Fraser, of the same “coven,” was a most dangerous witch.

    Witch Stories

    E. Lynn (Elizabeth Lynn) Linton
British Dictionary definitions for coven


a meeting of witches
a company of 13 witches
Word Origin
C16: probably from Old French covin group, ultimately from Latin convenīre to come together; compare convent
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 coven

"a gathering of witches," 1660s, earlier (c.1500) a variant of covent, cuvent early forms of convent. Association with witches arose in Scotland, but not popularized until Sir Walter Scott used it in this sense in "Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft" (1830).

Efter that tym ther vold meit bot somtymes a Coven, somtymes mor, somtymes les; bot a Grand Meitting vold be about the end of ilk Quarter. Ther is threttein persones in ilk Coeven; and ilk on of vs has an Sprit to wait wpon ws, quhan ve pleas to call wpon him. I remember not all the Spritis names; bot thair is on called "Swein," quhilk waitis wpon the said Margret Wilson in Aulderne; he is still clothed in grass-grein .... ["Criminal Trials in Scotland," III, appendix, p.606, confession of Issobell Gowdie in Lochloy in 1662]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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