Know how to use "fewer" and "less"? Find out.


[kleek, klik] /klik, klɪk/
a small, exclusive group of people; coterie; set.
verb (used without object), cliqued, cliquing.
Informal. to form, or associate in, a clique.
1705-15; < French, apparently metaphorical use of Middle French clique latch, or noun derivative of cliquer to make noise, resound, imitative word parallel to click1
Related forms
cliqueless, adjective
cliquey, cliquy, adjective
cliquism, noun
subclique, noun
Can be confused
claque, clique.
click, clique.
1. See circle, ring1 . Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for cliques
  • When two different cliques come together, members of both groups often chase and fight each other.
  • As a result, groups of water molecules form exclusive cliques, aka droplets.
  • Part of our protection of individuals members or cliques.
  • The terms nerd and geek were convenient shorthand used by other cliques to categorize us.
  • We were a close knit bunch generally, although with cliques and drama and all.
  • More board work also breaks up the talking cliques, and keeps them on-task.
  • Seriously, some people need to get out and socialize a bit more outside their little, closed cliques.
  • Metropolitan cliques organise amongst themselves to appropriate rents from the rest of society.
  • Such standards also aim to reduce economic distinctions and to suppress the cruelty of school cliques.
  • It's not simply that different students are in cliques because they fit in with others in the clique.
British Dictionary definitions for cliques


/kliːk; klɪk/
a small, exclusive group of friends or associates
Derived Forms
cliquish, adjective
cliquishly, adverb
cliquishness, noun
Word Origin
C18: from French, perhaps from Old French: latch, from cliquer to click; suggestive of the necessity to exclude nonmembers
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for cliques



1711, "a party of persons; a small set, especially one associating for exclusivity," from obsolete French clique, originally (14c.) "a sharp noise," also "latch, bolt of a door," from Old French cliquer "click, clatter, crackle, clink," 13c., echoic. Apparently this word was at one time treated in French as the equivalent of claque (q.v.) and partook of that word's theatrical sense.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for clique

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for cliques

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with cliques

Nearby words for cliques