[ kon-kleyv, kong- ]
See synonyms for conclave on
  1. a private or secret meeting.

  2. an assembly or gathering, especially one that has special authority, power, or influence: a conclave of political leaders.

  1. the assembly or meeting of the cardinals for the election of a pope.

  2. the body of cardinals; the College of Cardinals.

  3. the place in which the cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church meet in private for the election of a pope.

Origin of conclave

1350–1400; Middle English <Medieval Latin, Latin conclāve room, enclosed space, representing (camera) cum clāve (room) with key. See con-, clef

Words Nearby conclave Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use conclave in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for conclave


/ (ˈkɒnkleɪv, ˈkɒŋ-) /

  1. a confidential or secret meeting

  2. RC Church

    • the closed apartments where the college of cardinals elects a new pope

    • a meeting of the college of cardinals for this purpose

Origin of conclave

C14: from Medieval Latin conclāve, from Latin: cage, place that may be locked, from clāvis key

Derived forms of conclave

  • conclavist, noun

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