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roman à clef

[raw-mah na kle]
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noun, plural ro·mans à clef [raw-mahn za kle] /rɔ mɑ̃ za ˈklɛ/. French.
  1. a novel that represents historical events and characters under the guise of fiction.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

sagaBildungsromanroman-fleuve

British Dictionary definitions for roman a clef

roman à clef

noun plural romans à clef (rɔmɑ̃ a kle)
  1. a novel in which real people are depicted under fictitious names
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Word Origin

literally: novel with a key
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

roman a clef in Culture

roman à clef

[(roh-mahn ah klay)]

A novel in which actual people and places are disguised as fictional characters. Roman à clef is French for “novel with a key.”

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.