Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A secret or confidential meeting.
  • noun The private rooms in which the cardinals meet to elect a new pope.
  • noun The meeting held to elect a new pope.
  • noun A meeting of family members or associates.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A private apartment; particularly, the place in which the Sacred College or assembly of cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church meets in privacy for the election of a pope.
  • noun The assembly or meeting of the cardinals for the election of a pope.
  • noun Formerly the pope was elected by the clergy and people of Rome; but, owing to the violence and even bloodshed with which these elections were attended, the right of election was in 1059 vested in the cardinals, and is still exercised by them. During the progress of an election, which usually lasts several days, they and their attendants are locked up and guarded within the apartments in the Vatican occupied by them, to prevent any external interference or influence.
  • noun The body of cardinals; the Sacred College.
  • noun Any private meeting; a close assembly.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The set of apartments within which the cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church are continuously secluded while engaged in choosing a pope.
  • noun The body of cardinals shut up in the conclave for the election of a pope; hence, the body of cardinals.
  • noun A private meeting; a close or secret assembly.
  • noun to be engaged in a secret meeting; -- said of several, or a considerable number of, persons.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The set of apartments within which the cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church are continuously secluded while engaged in choosing a pope.
  • noun The group of Roman Catholic cardinals locked in a conclave until they elect a new pope; the body of cardinals
  • noun A private meeting; a close or secret assembly.

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

  • noun a confidential or secret meeting

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, private chamber, conclave of cardinals, from Latin conclāve, lockable room : com-, com- + clāvis, key.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

French from Latin conclave ("room that may be locked up"), from con- (combining form of cum ("with") + clāvis ("key")).

Examples

  • After his election Gregory X set out some hard-line regulations for future elections: his 1274 constitution Ubi periculum contains the first use of the word conclave—from the Latin cum clavis, “with a key.”

    Delizia!

  • Fiddling with the rules of the conclave is a perennial pasttime of pontiffs, but one long-term tradition is that the Pope must receive a vote from two-thirds plus one of the cardinals present.

    04/15/2005

  • And then the fourth event to keep an eye on is about two weeks from today this meeting, what they call a conclave, which literally in Latin translates into "with a key," the conclave will begin in the Sistine Chapel, when 117 cardinals get together and decide ballot by ballot who will be the next leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

    CNN Transcript Apr 3, 2005

  • At the movie itself, audiences mostly heard Zimmer's signature hoo-ha sound designed to elicit some ominous sense of Batman, or Gladiator, or Cardinals meeting in conclave or something.

    The Music in Angels and Demons

  • Unlike in any other election in the world, visible campaigning for the conclave is discouraged.

    USATODAY.com - Which qualities cardinals will look for in the next pope

  • It is the first occasion on which we meet with the word conclave in connection with papal elections.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 4: Clandestinity-Diocesan Chancery

  • And the Master, seated in conclave in the Jeta Grove, assigned her the foremost rank in the mystic powers.

    Psalms of the Sisters

  • But we abolished this uncivilized custom in conclave, and thenceforth sat our meals out to the end.

    Six to Sixteen: A Story for Girls

  • At this sad sight the assembled Cardinals became as pale as death, and a solemn silence reigned in the 'conclave' -- it was the moment of the 'eprouvette negative'; but the 'maitre a'hotel' suddenly turns to one of the attendants, Bring another turbot, 'said he, with the most perfect coolness.

    Complete Project Gutenberg Collection of Memoirs of Napoleon

  • At this sad sight the assembled Cardinals became as pale as death, and a solemn silence reigned in the 'conclave' -- it was the moment of the 'eprouvette negative'; but the 'maitre a'hotel' suddenly turns to one of the attendants, Bring another turbot, 'said he, with the most perfect coolness.

    The Memoirs of Napoleon

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