- 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 clave2
1925–30; American Spanish, Spanish: keystone < Latin clāvis key
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for claves
The head of the table was occupied by the Reverend when he was at home and by Claves when the Reverend was away.
I made no complaint, nor did I write to Claves to inquire why he had ceased writing.
But Claves' name was not on the contract for the home, only her father's name appearing.
That was on Tuesday following, after Claves had tried every trick and failed to get Ethel away.
From Austria the clavichord as it was usually called in those days (because it had claves or keys) went to Italy.The Story of Mankind
Hendrik Van Loon
- 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
C20: from American Spanish, from Latin clavis key
- archaic a past tense of cleave 1
- zoology a clublike thickening at the upper end of an organ, esp of the antenna of an insect
C19: from Latin clāva club
Word Origin and History for claves
pair of hardwood sticks used in making music, 1928, from American Spanish claves (plural), from Spanish clave "keystone," from Latin clavis "key" (see slot (n.2)).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper