Dictionary.com

roman à clef

[ raw-mah na -kle ]
/ rɔ mɑ na ˈklɛ /
Save This Word!

noun, plural ro·mans à clef [raw-mahn za -kle]. /rɔ mɑ̃ za ˈklɛ/. French.
a novel that represents historical events and characters under the guise of fiction.
QUIZ
QUIZ YOURSELF ON AFFECT VS. EFFECT!
In effect, this quiz will prove whether or not you have the skills to know the difference between “affect” and “effect.”
Question 1 of 7
The rainy weather could not ________ my elated spirits on my graduation day.
Meet Grammar CoachWrite or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing
Meet Grammar CoachImprove Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help

Origin of roman à clef

First recorded in 1880–85; literally “novel with a key,” the key being the connection between the fictional and nonfictional elements of the novel
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use roman à clef in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for roman à clef

roman à clef
/ French (rɔmɑ̃ a kle) /

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

Word Origin for roman à clef

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

Cultural definitions for roman à clef

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.”

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.
FEEDBACK