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powwow

[pou-wou]
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noun
  1. a large gathering organized by North American Indians for socializing, dancing, singing, and celebrating their culture.
  2. a council or conference of or with North American Indians.
  3. (historically, among North American Indians) a ceremony accompanied by spiritual, religious, and ritual practices, along with dancing, performed for the cure of disease, success in a hunt, etc.
  4. (among North American Indians) a priest or shaman.
  5. Informal. any conference or meeting.
verb (used without object)
  1. to hold a powwow.
  2. Informal. to confer.

Origin of powwow

1615–25, Americanism; < Narragansett (E spelling) powwaw Indian priest (and the identical word in Massachusett) < Proto-Algonquian *pawe·wa he dreams (used as a derived agent noun meaning “he who dreams”, i.e., one who derives his power from visions)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for powwow

powwow

noun
  1. a talk, conference, or meeting
  2. a magical ceremony of certain North American Indians, usually accompanied by feasting and dancing
  3. (among certain North American Indians) a medicine man
  4. a meeting of or negotiation with North American Indians
verb
  1. (intr) to hold a powwow

Word Origin

C17: from Algonquian; related to Natick pauwau one who practises magic, Narraganset powwaw
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

Word Origin and History for powwow

n.

1620s, "priest, sorcerer," from a southern New England Algonquian language (probably Narragansett) powwaw "shaman, medicine man, Indian priest," from a verb meaning "to use divination, to dream," from Proto-Algonquian *pawe:wa "he dreams, one who dreams." Meaning "magical ceremony among North American Indians" is recorded from 1660s. Sense of "council, conference, meeting" is first recorded 1812. Verb sense of "to confer, discuss" is attested from 1780.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper