Definition of conventicle in English:


Pronunciation /kənˈven(t)ək(ə)l/ /kənˈvɛn(t)ək(ə)l/


  • A secret or unlawful religious meeting, typically of people with nonconformist views.

    ‘The Orthodox among us were at least as imaginative as any of the rest, though, of course, always insisting upon strict obedience to Jewish law in our conventicles and retreats.’
    • ‘Gerhard, a quiet dreamy boy, found himself attracted to the conventicles, but although he heard numerous gospel sermons, his mind remained confused and his heart untouched.’
    • ‘Gnostics read their revelations in private, or discuss them in small conventicles with those who are similarly enlightened.’
    • ‘If it was a sin to preach at conventicles, he said, ‘I should sin still.’’
    assembly, meeting, meet, convention, rally, turnout, congress, convocation, conclave, council, synod, symposium, forum, muster, tweetup


Late Middle English (in the general sense ‘assembly, meeting’, particularly a clandestine or illegal one): from Latin conventiculum ‘(place of) assembly’, diminutive of conventus ‘assembly, company’, from the verb convenire (see convene).