Definition of clique in English:


See synonyms for clique

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  • A small group of people, with shared interests or other features in common, who spend time together and do not readily allow others to join them.

    ‘the old-school clique’
    • ‘I hope that you all will get to know him and allow him to join our wonderful clique.’
    • ‘In our close-knit cliques we gossip about a variety of topics even though we complain about the parents who do it.’
    • ‘At that time, he hadn't joined any of the cliques he could have, staying alone, talking to a few other guys at a minimum level.’
    • ‘There was never supposed to be any hierarchy in her classroom; no cliques were allowed.’
    • ‘The West generally ignored its own cultural cliques, who were regarded as peripheral and of no consequence to political events.’
    • ‘Cliques can be bad, when cliques start ganging up on other cliques, making mountains into molehills.’
    • ‘It was found that certain cliques of countries within the same geographic region, like Greece and Cyprus, are likely to vote similarly.’
    • ‘It must also avoid cultural cliques and the editor must be ‘free and untrammelled’ by any committee or board.’
    • ‘Its reputation in recent years has been that of a party dominated by small elite cliques.’
    • ‘Kellin always had these mixed up schemes to try and pull her into the popular clique.’
    • ‘The hopes of the people have been dashed too many times to believe that they can rid the country of the ruling clique with the ballot.’
    • ‘The tension is mostly created by Caz, Jules and Hen; their clique is the one the other girls most wish to join.’
    • ‘I had no idea that the smartest of the Indiana population had cliques.’
    • ‘The prestige and appeal of their manners radiated far beyond the exclusive social cliques of Damascus itself.’
    • ‘Strangers become friends, friends become cliques and cliques become vast drinking scenes.’
    • ‘Interestingly, cliques generally became less integrated as the number of minorities rose.’
    • ‘I'm guessing that flying scene there resolves around individual cliques that communicate in private.’
    • ‘There he catered to couples, snazzy middle-aged divorced female cliques and peevish teenagers.’
    • ‘Not surprisingly, the school is as bad as the city; there are numerous gangs and cliques.’
    • ‘This procedure identified 13 distinct cliques over the course of the observation period.’
    coterie, circle, inner circle, crowd, in-crowd, set, group
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/klēk/ /klik/ /klɪk/


Early 18th century from French, from Old French cliquer ‘make a noise’; the modern sense is related to claque.