Other definitions for clave (2 of 2)

[ klah-vey ]

  1. one of a pair of wooden sticks or blocks that are held one in each hand and are struck together to accompany music and dancing.

Origin of clave

First recorded in 1925–30; Latin American Spanish, Spanish: “keystone,” from Latin clāvis “key”

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use clave in a sentence

  • My tongue, as the Bible expresses it, clave to the roof of my mouth.

  • The magistrate's tongue clave to the roof of his mouth, as the scholar advanced, cap in hand, and bowed to one and the other.

    The Long Night | Stanley Weyman
  • Silence had always been easier to them than speech, and the habit clave to them even when they were in love.

    Joan of the Sword Hand | S(amuel) R(utherford) Crockett
  • Wherefore the name clave to the plain from Mac cecht's misery, that is, Mag Brén-guir.

  • He clave the rock in the wilderness, and caused waters to run down like a river.

    The Power of Faith | Isabella Graham

British Dictionary definitions for clave (1 of 3)


/ (kleɪv, klɑːv) /

  1. music one of a pair of hardwood sticks struck together to make a hollow sound, esp to mark the beat of Latin-American dance music

Origin of clave

C20: from American Spanish, from Latin clavis key

British Dictionary definitions for clave (2 of 3)


/ (kleɪv) /

  1. archaic a past tense of cleave 1

British Dictionary definitions for clave (3 of 3)


/ (kleɪv) /

  1. zoology a clublike thickening at the upper end of an organ, esp of the antenna of an insect

Origin of clave

C19: from Latin clāva club

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