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roman à clef

[raw-mah na kle] /rɔ mɑ na ˈklɛ/
noun, plural romans à clef
[raw-mahn za kle] /rɔ mɑ̃ za ˈklɛ/ (Show IPA).
a novel that represents historical events and characters under the guise of fiction. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for roman a clef

roman à clef

/rɔmɑ̃ a kle/
noun (pl) romans à clef (rɔmɑ̃ a kle)
a novel in which real people are depicted under fictitious names
Word Origin
literally: novel with a key
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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roman a clef in Culture
roman à clef [(roh-mahn ah klay)]

A novel in which actual people and places are disguised as fictional characters. Roman à clef is French for “novel with a key.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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