[ kleek, klik ]
/ klik, klɪk /


a small, exclusive group of people; coterie; set.

verb (used without object), cliqued, cli·quing.

Informal. to form, or associate in, a clique.

Origin of clique

1705–15; < French, apparently metaphorical use of Middle French clique latch, or noun derivative of cliquer to make noise, resound, imitative word parallel to click1
Related formsclique·less, adjectivecli·quey, cli·quy, adjectivecli·quism, nounsub·clique, noun
Can be confusedclaque cliqueclick clique

Synonym study

1. See circle, ring1. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for clique

British Dictionary definitions for clique


/ (kliːk, klɪk) /


a small, exclusive group of friends or associates
Derived Formscliquish, adjectivecliquishly, adverbcliquishness, noun

Word Origin for clique

C18: from French, perhaps from Old French: latch, from cliquer to click; suggestive of the necessity to exclude nonmembers
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 clique



1711, "a party of persons; a small set, especially one associating for exclusivity," from obsolete French clique, originally (14c.) "a sharp noise," also "latch, bolt of a door," from Old French cliquer "click, clatter, crackle, clink," 13c., echoic. Apparently this word was at one time treated in French as the equivalent of claque (q.v.) and partook of that word's theatrical sense.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper