Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A religious meeting, especially a secret or illegal one, such as those held by Dissenters in England and Scotland in the 16th and 17th centuries.
  • n. The place where such a meeting is held.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a secret, unauthorized or illegal religious meeting
  • n. the place where such a meeting is held
  • n. a Quaker meetinghouse

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A small assembly or gathering; esp., a secret assembly.
  • n. An assembly for religious worship; esp., such an assembly held privately, as in times of persecution, by Nonconformists or Dissenters in England, or by Covenanters in Scotland; -- often used opprobriously, as if those assembled were heretics or schismatics.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To belong to or meet in a conventicle; practise the holding of conventicles for religious worship.
  • n. An assembly or gathering; especially, a secret or unauthorized gathering for the purpose of religious worship.
  • n. Specifically In Great Britain, a meeting of dissenters from the established church for religious worship.
  • n. A building in which religious meetings or conventicles are held.
  • n. Connection; following; party.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a building for religious assembly (especially Nonconformists, e.g., Quakers)
  • n. a secret unauthorized meeting for religious worship

Etymologies

Middle English, from Latin conventiculum, meeting, diminutive of conventus, assembly; see convent.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Though I doubt not (how much soever knaves may abuse fools with words for a time) but there will come a day, in which the most active Papists will be found under the Puritan mask; in which it will appear, that the conventicle has been the Jesuits safest kennel, and the Papists themselves, as well as the fanatics, have been managers of all those monstrous outcries against popery, to the ruin of those Protestants whom they most hate, and whom alone they fear.

    Sermons Preached Upon Several Occasions. Vol. II.

  • About the time that these events were taking place in and around Black's cottage, bands of armed men with women and even children were hastening towards the same locality to attend the great "conventicle," for which the preparations already described were being made.

    Hunted and Harried

  • Morton, half speaking to himself; “here is a poor peaceable fellow, whose only motive for joining the conventicle was a sense of filial piety, and he is chained up like a thief or murderer, and likely to die the death of one, but without the privilege of a formal trial, which our laws indulge to the worst malefactor!

    Old Mortality

  • "It is most infamous and intolerable oppression!" said Morton, half speaking to himself; "here is a poor peaceable fellow, whose only motive for joining the conventicle was a sense of filial piety, and he is chained up like a thief or murderer, and likely to die the death of one, but without the privilege of a formal trial, which our laws indulge to the worst malefactor!

    Old Mortality, Complete

  • "conventicle" in the hope of securing her fortune for themselves.

    Marion Harland's autobiography : the story of a long life,

  • "conventicle," or what not, so long as you feel that you are _something_ with a life and purpose of its own, in this tangle of a world. '

    Robert Elsmere

  • I crossed over no conventicle, nor did I meet with ill tidings.

    Nothing At All

  • Holland was not even certain what a conventicle was, but he thought it had to do either with the promises or the premises of Dissenters.

    The Mistaken Wife

  • Although some historians have treated Agrippa as an influence on the early penetration of Protestant ideas into Geneva, at that early date he and his friends in all three cities were essentially reform-minded humanists inspired by Erasmus and Lefèvre, not a proto-Protestant conventicle.

    Loss of Faith

  • Methought they were gay, if I may judge from some faint sounds of mirth and distant music, which found their way so far as these grated windows, and died when they entered them, as all that is mirthful must — But thou lookest as sad as if thou hadst come from a conventicle of the

    The Abbot

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