• WordNet 3.6
    • n conventicle a building for religious assembly (especially Nonconformists, e.g., Quakers)
    • n conventicle a secret unauthorized meeting for religious worship
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Conventicle A small assembly or gathering; esp., a secret assembly. "They are commanded to abstain from all conventicles of men whatsoever."
    • Conventicle An assembly for religious worship; esp., such an assembly held privately, as in times of persecution, by Nonconformists or Dissenters in England, or by Covenanters in Scotland; -- often used opprobriously, as if those assembled were heretics or schismatics. "The first Christians could never have had recourse to nocturnal or clandestine conventicles till driven to them by the violence of persecution.""A sort of men who . . . attend its [the curch of England's] service in the morning, and go with their wives to a conventicle in the afternoon."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n conventicle An assembly or gathering; especially, a secret or unauthorized gathering for the purpose of religious worship.
    • n conventicle Specifically In Great Britain, a meeting of dissenters from the established church for religious worship. In this sense it is used by English writers and in English statutes. It was especially applied, as a term of opprobrium, to the secret meetings for religious worship held by the Scottish Covenanters, when they were persecuted for their faith in the reign of Charles II.
    • n conventicle A building in which religious meetings or conventicles are held.
    • n conventicle Connection; following; party.
    • conventicle To belong to or meet in a conventicle; practise the holding of conventicles for religious worship.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Conventicle kon-vent′i-kl applied in contempt to a meeting for worship of dissenters from the Established Church, applied esp. to the field-preachings of the Presbyterian ministers in the persecutions under Charles II. and James II.: any private, clandestine, or irregular meeting
    • v.i Conventicle to hold such
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. conventiculum, dim. of conventus,: cf. F. conventicule,. See Convent (n.)


In literature:

The bands of armed men who assembled at conventicles became so numerous as to have the appearance of an army.
"Hunted and Harried" by R.M. Ballantyne
Better to renew the prohibition of heretical conventicles, and to reiterate the ancient penalties.
"The Rise of the Hugenots, Vol. 1 (of 2)" by Henry Martyn Baird
He looks as if he had been just presiding at three conventicles and a meeting at Philadelphus Hall.
"Julian Home" by Dean Frederic W. Farrar
Don't you know this is no common conventicle?
"Broken Bread from an Evangelist's Wallet" by Thomas Champness
Married women taken at "conventicles," were sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment.
"A Modern History, From the Time of Luther to the Fall of Napoleon" by John Lord
Another bay was added to the Burgess conventicle, and the cathedral services were resumed.
"Bell's Cathedrals: The Cathedral Church of St. Paul" by Arthur Dimock
Josiah, too, had his stories of Old England and the conventicles, heroic tales of the beginning of the long struggle for freedom of opinion.
"True to His Home" by Hezekiah Butterworth
Wait ye till I send them to your conventicles!
"Privy Seal" by Ford Madox Ford
Patriotic conventicles and every other form of secret meeting were held.
"The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte" by William Milligan Sloane
One day, in an inland walk, Mrs. Paton and I came on a large Conventicle in the bush.
"The Story of John G. Paton" by James Paton

In poetry:

There rose a manly race austere and strong,
On whom no lessons of their day were lost,
Earnest as some conventicle's deep song,
And keen as their own frost.
"Arms And The Man - The New England Group" by James Barron Hope
Or why not plunge thy blades about
Some maggot politician throng
Swarming to parcel out
The body of a land, and rout
The maw-conventicle, and ungorge Wrong?
"Individuality." by Sidney Lanier