Definition of powwow in English:



  • 1A North American Indian ceremony involving feasting, singing and dancing.

    • ‘With a special pullout calendar of events, it encourages visitors to spend their tourist dollars by attending ethnic festivals or powwows, to feast on authentic cuisine and purchase artifacts from ethnic vendors.’
    • ‘I became obsessed and took part in sweat lodge ceremonies, pipe ceremonies, powwows and other Aboriginal spiritual events.’
    • ‘Tipis routinely are transported to powwows, barter fairs and rendezvous on a truck's carrying racks.’
    • ‘In the past few decades, a rising interest in North American Plains culture has resurrected competition powwows on an extraordinary scale, bringing with it a huge demand for feathers.’
    • ‘Attend powwows and Métis festivals and talk to Elders.’
    • ‘Other Native American tribes have experienced a similar rebirth, adopting, for example, the powwows and dances of the Plains Indians even though these practices were not part of their lost tradition.’
    • ‘That year, there was a national powwow with dances and ceremonies.’
    • ‘We'll live in a tipi camp, learn about the plains environment, practice some traditional arts, attend a powwow, and hike in the splendour of the northern Rockies.’
    • ‘He said his nominator asked him to attend the powwow and participate in a Plains Cree ceremony.’
    • ‘Alcohol and drugs are banned from powwow sites, and some powwows are organized to celebrate sobriety.’
    • ‘Still, a powwow is more than just dancing, drumming and eating Indian tacos; it's a bonding experience for the Aboriginal community.’
    • ‘How and when the powwow began is complex, embedded in ancient cultural heritage and symbolism.’
    • ‘The last time I had been in Red Lake I was with my mother, sister, nieces, nephews and in-laws for a powwow.’
    • ‘Intertribal powwows featuring dance competitions are the ones at which visitors are most welcome.’
    • ‘I ask if he would be so kind as to take me back to his tepee for a short powwow, and we walk down a sidewalk to a small patch of grass outside the rodeo arena.’
    • ‘Based on the records of explorers, the Omaha Nation of Nebraska has been counting annual powwows for about 200 years.’
    • ‘West, a Southern Cheyenne chief, says the buckskin shirt he wears to powwows has a connection to the animal it came from.’
    • ‘Dance will be a major part of the powwow, with several rounds of exhibition and intertribal dancing - and lots of audience participation - on both days.’
    • ‘I love the sound of Indian drums and chants at powwows and opera.’
    • ‘The park had denied permission allegedly because park rules stipulate that events must end by a specified time, whereas ‘a proper powwow goes on all night.’’
  • 2A conference or meeting for discussion, especially among friends or colleagues.

    • ‘Due to the divergent stances of the member nations, the annual powwow had difficulty reaching consensus on major international security issues and resolving economic problems.’
    • ‘After the crew ties the boats off to the right-hand bank and scouts the rapid, the two put their heads together for a powwow.’
    • ‘If things are as you say, you need to have a major powwow with your husband and discuss his relationship with his mother.’
    • ‘More than 200 people attended the institution's 32nd annual powwow which was held in conjunction with the workshop.’
    • ‘One minute, he's in a strategic powwow with top executives, in the next, he's peppered with questions from financial news reporters.’
    discussion, talk, chat, gossip, tête-à-tête, heart-to-heart, head-to-head, exchange, dialogue, parley, consultation, conference
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[NO OBJECT]informal
  • Hold a powwow; confer.

    ‘news squads powwowed nervously’
    • ‘In a meeting of altruistic minds at Stanford University last spring, 80 members of the tourism, academic, and NGO worlds powwowed on the subject of global giving.’
    • ‘He will be powwowing with Fortune 500 executives, foreign leaders, and banking magnates, too.’
    • ‘The leaders of both sides of the argument will powwow in Miami.’
    • ‘At one point during the annual sales powwow at a San Francisco convention center in August, a wizened Chambers came out from behind the podium to be closer to the 10,000 salespeople.’
    • ‘They hung around one night after the shelter closed and powwowed about ‘the three most pressing topics we wanted to raise at the staff meeting,’ she says.’
    talk, gossip, chatter, chitter-chatter, speak, converse, have a conversation, engage in conversation, tittle-tattle, prattle, jabber, jibber-jabber, babble, prate, go on, run on
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Early 17th century: from Narragansett powah, powwaw ‘magician’ (literally ‘he dreams’).