a group of people who associate closely.
an exclusive group; clique.
a group of prairie dogs occupying a communal burrow.

1730–40; < French, Middle French: an association of tenant farmers < Medieval Latin coter(ius) cotter2 + -ie -y3

1. See circle. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
coterie (ˈkəʊtərɪ)
a small exclusive group of friends or people with common interests; clique
[C18: from French, from Old French: association of tenants, from cotier (unattested) cottager, from Medieval Latin cotāriuscotter²; see cot²]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1738, from Fr., originally an organization of peasants holding land from a feudal lord, from cotier "tenant of a cote" (see cottage).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
There is always a fun-loving coterie of practical jokers in every club.
Speak to the significance of your ideas beyond your coterie.
His reliance on a coterie of compatriots provoked particular irritation.
One family lived in each house, often with a coterie of servants and rickshaw
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