[kleek, klik]


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

Related Words for cliquey

cabalistic, elite, exclusive, select

Examples from the Web for cliquey

Historical Examples of cliquey

  • I enjoyed the same sort of cliquey reputation and public failure attending a certain novel entitled Marius the Epicurean.

  • Godalming folks will tell you that Guildford is “cliquey,” by which term I understand exclusiveness to be meant.

  • People here are cliquey, and Carlotta and Peggy are the only girls in the crowd that I've ever known before.

    Brenda's Ward

    Helen Leah Reed

British Dictionary definitions for cliquey



adjective -ier or -iest

exclusive, confined to a small group; forming cliques



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 cliquey



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