Definition of powwow in English:


Pronunciation /ˈpouˌwou/ /ˈpaʊˌwaʊ/

Translate powwow into Spanish


  • 1A North American Indian ceremony involving feasting, singing, and dancing.

  • 2informal A conference or meeting for discussion, especially among friends or colleagues.

    discussion, talk, chat, gossip, tête-à-tête, heart-to-heart, head-to-head, exchange, dialogue, parley, consultation, conference

intransitive verb

[no object]informal
  • Meet or confer.

    • ‘news squads powwowed nervously’
    • ‘He will be powwowing with Fortune 500 executives, foreign leaders, and banking magnates, too.’
    • ‘They hung around one night after the shelter closed and powwowed about ‘the three most pressing topics we wanted to raise at the staff meeting,’ she says.’
    • ‘In a meeting of altruistic minds at Stanford University last spring, 80 members of the tourism, academic, and NGO worlds powwowed on the subject of global giving.’
    • ‘The leaders of both sides of the argument will powwow in Miami.’
    • ‘At one point during the annual sales powwow at a San Francisco convention center in August, a wizened Chambers came out from behind the podium to be closer to the 10,000 salespeople.’
    talk, gossip, chatter, chitter-chatter, speak, converse, have a conversation, engage in conversation, tittle-tattle, prattle, jabber, jibber-jabber, babble, prate, go on, run on


Informal use of the term powwow to refer to a meeting or as a verb meaning ‘meet or confer' is increasingly regarded as insensitive or disrespectful to indigenous North American groups, for whom powwows represent a valued cultural institution and tradition


Early 17th century from Narragansett powah, powwaw ‘magician’ (literally ‘he dreams’).