Definition of conclave in US English:



  • 1A private meeting.

    • ‘But these have been mostly confined to technical conclaves.’
    • ‘The ‘Grass to Gold Jewellery Convention’ is perhaps the first conclave of its kind ever held in Asia presenting the culture of jewellery in all its facets.’
    • ‘It is unfortunate that the annual conclave of the International Monetary Fund was cancelled, as it could have been used to broaden and reinforce support for the multilateral strategy.’
    • ‘It channels the testosterone of power into secret conclaves and pacts.’
    • ‘Unvarnished first impressions can rapidly get turned on their head if the tide of opinion in these writerly conclaves runs too hard against them.’
    • ‘Edwards's name is blacked out, but the text makes clear that the meeting can be none other than the Helms-Edwards conclave that Kissinger and others alluded to.’
    • ‘Unless the BJP has a change of heart after its Goa conclave, the Prime Minister must expect unmitigated hostility from the main Opposition party.’
    • ‘The fact is that something remarkable has happened - the Iraqis are talking in conclaves of issues that have not been addressed for 50 years.’
    • ‘Mr Vajpayee's exhortation to his partymen to keep the NDA intact might also have an impact on the conclave when it arrived at the 10-point conclusions.’
    • ‘With the single exception of Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election convention in Chicago, these national Democratic conclaves have always been fraught with peril.’
    • ‘But it will be China, India, Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, Vietnam, the Arab world, and Turkey that the U.S. will have to huddle with most earnestly at important international conclaves - not Europe.’
    • ‘Knowing the age of coalition was here to stay, she declared at a conclave in Shimla that the Congress would form alliance with like-minded parties for the Lok Sabha polls and that the leader of the alliance would be chosen after the polls.’
    • ‘While academic historians find time and money to meet in conclaves of complaint about lack of funding and their poverty of research opportunities, a private citizen simply puts his head down and gets on with the job.’
    • ‘The qualitative difference is that there's no effort, no intention to ‘shut down’ the Democratic conclave.’
    • ‘As a conclave of low-paid people with government guaranteed paychecks, military bases are natural targets for the predatory lending practices of payday loan companies.’
    • ‘And so, a national conclave on weather prediction, held in Kochi became a closely guarded affair.’
    • ‘When Gancie went to the national fire chiefs' conclaves in other cities, he was treated like a movie star.’
    • ‘Today's chief executive participates in recurring summit conclaves of world leaders and in recurring bilateral conferences, one on one, with other presidents-from Russia to El Salvador.’
    • ‘It came on the eve of a meeting of the G20-a conclave of developed and developing nations - in Berlin at which the recent fall in the dollar was a hot topic.’
    • ‘While gestures like holding the conclave of Congress chief ministers and a golf tournament will help, much more needs to be done to change the mindset of the people inside and outside Kashmir.’
    meeting, private meeting, gathering, assembly, conference, convention, convocation, council, session, summit, forgathering
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    1. 1.1 (in the Roman Catholic Church) the assembly of cardinals for the election of a pope.
      • ‘On Paul's death in 1978, Ratzinger attended the two conclaves of that momentous year, and helped elect the unknown Pole, Karol Wojtyla.’
      • ‘He decided to spend the night instead at the Vatican hotel where the cardinals gathered for the conclave.’
      • ‘The consensus is that there were eight ballots, which would make that one of the longer conclaves of the 20th century.’
      • ‘Sooner than that, no female person will have a vote at the next conclave for the election of a Pope.’
      • ‘A similar lobbying phenomenon occurred prior to the two conclaves of 1978 and there is no discernible evidence that it had any impact on the outcome.’
      • ‘If the conclave remains deadlocked after 30 votes, a simple majority suffices.’
      • ‘Others lingered at home to comfort the faithful in their diocese before heading to Rome for the funeral and the secret voting sessions of the conclave.’
      • ‘I understand that the voting cardinals who took part in the conclave that elected Benedict XVI as the new pope took an oath of perpetual secrecy about what happened in the conclave.’
      • ‘We've never had more than 11 ballots for a conclave.’
      • ‘The videotape was aired as cardinals arrived in the rain at the Vatican for their seventh meeting to map out details of the conclave.’
      • ‘They do have some contact with service staff at the special dormitory in which they stay throughout the conclave, but staff members are not permitted to speak to them.’
      • ‘The next conclave will elect the church's 264th pope.’
      • ‘History offers plentiful examples of conclaves where the cardinals appointed by one pope elected a very different successor.’
      • ‘The rituals date back nearly a thousand years, but Vatican officials are taking very modern security measures to prevent any leaks from the conclave.’
      • ‘He watched news coverage of the conclave with friends.’
      • ‘Conventional wisdom says that whoever goes into the conclave as pope exits as cardinal.’
      • ‘But if the conclave remains deadlocked after about 33 ballots, the rules allow for the election of a Pope on attaining a 51 per cent majority.’
      • ‘Formerly, it took a two-thirds-plus-one majority to elect a pope, but as a result of the 1996 changes, a simple majority will now suffice if the conclave remains deadlocked after 30 votes.’
      • ‘As the cardinals of the Catholic Church gather today for their papal conclave, it is not at all heretical to consider the challenges facing their organization in business terms.’
      • ‘Not only will none of that pressure pervade the next conclave, but almost certainly pressure will build for the successor to break free, at least in name, from a pontificate of immoderate length.’
    2. 1.2 The meeting place for a conclave.
      • ‘Each has a ‘manager’ employed by the brothel owner, whose business it is to deal with clients and guard the conclave like a prison.’
      • ‘But once those men walk in that door, once they lock in the door in the conclave, they're going to be looking for a man, a person who embodies, as Father Harrington noted, certain gifts and talents.’


Late Middle English (denoting a private room): via French from Latin conclave ‘lockable room’, from con- ‘with’ + clavis ‘key’.