a large gathering organized by Native Americans for socializing, dancing, singing, and celebrating their culture.
a council or conference of or with Native Americans.
(historically, among North American Indians) a ceremony accompanied by spiritual, religious, and ritual practices, along with dancing, performed for the cure of disease, success in a hunt, etc.
(among Native Americans) a priest or shaman.
Informal: Often Offensive. any conference or meeting.
to hold a powwow, such as a cultural gathering, council, or spiritual ceremony for Native Americans.
Informal: Often Offensive. to confer.
When speaking or writing about members of Tribal Nations or First Nations, it’s best to understand the history and governance of the group in question, and to reflect the language used by the members of this specific tribe or nation. Fidelity to the group’s own naming is important. In other contexts, these Native-evoking words can and should be replaced with more neutral language, where your boss is not “the chief” and there is no need for a “powwow” because teams of co-workers can just chat, meet up, or have a brainstorming session.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use powwow in a sentence
Lockdowns and distancing measures are being eased and that means rodeos, cattle drives and powwows are bouncing back.
The nation’s largest such event, the Gathering of Nations powwow will be held in person in New Mexico in April.
The closed-door powwow promises to be an electrifying exercise in spleen venting, thrust upon them by their Senate brethren.House Republicans Brace for Crazy-Making Intraparty Immigration Fight | Michelle Cottle | June 27, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
They already are getting their slides together for the next big powwow.TED Conferences Drag Down Intellectuals, Glorify Smart-Style People | Kent Sepkowitz | March 2, 2012 | THE DAILY BEAST
In fact, the pair recently had a big baseball powwow, with active and retired players like Brian Wilson and Eddie Murray.
So we organized and pressured Jeffrey Zucker, CEO of NBC Universal, for a powwow.
That canoe coming forward there, with the white flag up, Filhiol insisted, means they want to powwow.Cursed | George Allan England
Without stopping to call a powwow they summoned all hands to arms.Strange Stories of the Great River | Abbie Johnston Grosvenor
Far as I remember, English enticed all neighbouring Scots to powwow of some sort.The Heather-Moon | C. N. Williamson and A. M. Williamson
"I'll attend to him, while you powwow with Ireton," said Anthony, ready for the unexpected situation.It Happened in Egypt | C. N. Williamson
I've listened to all this powwow, and I gather that you got drunk to the last man, and he gathered you in.The Wreck of the Titan | Morgan Robertson
British Dictionary definitions for powwow
a talk, conference, or meeting
a magical ceremony of certain North American Indians, usually accompanied by feasting and dancing
(among certain North American Indians) a medicine man
a meeting of or negotiation with North American Indians
(intr) to hold a powwow
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