Definitions

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

  • noun 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.
  • noun The place where such a meeting is held.

from The Century Dictionary.

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

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

  • noun A small assembly or gathering; esp., a secret assembly.
  • noun 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 Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Latin conventiculum, meeting, diminutive of conventus, assembly; see convent.]

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, Volume 1.

  • "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

  • 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

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "Everyone knew that Old Tidmarsh the Quaker held some grotesque conventicle in his little house down by the river."

    —Iain Pears, An Instance of the Fingerpost (New York: Riverhead Books, 1998), 241

    Also...

    "A state can no more survive without general unity in religion than it can without common purpose in government, for to deny the church is, ultimately, to deny all civil authority. It is for this reason I support the virtuous mediocrity which the Anglican settlement observes between the meretricious gaudiness of Rome, and squalid sluttery of the fanatical conventicles." (453–454)

    Just as my very spirit began to revolt at the thought of accepting this viewpoint, I was bedazzled by the vocabulary.

    October 7, 2008

  • See conventicler. Not a hybrid of convent and tickle. No, no, no... yes.

    March 17, 2011