AskDefine | Define clique

Dictionary Definition

clique n : an exclusive circle of people with a common purpose [syn: coterie, ingroup, inner circle, pack, camp]

User Contributed Dictionary

see Clique




From clique.


  1. A small, exclusive group of individuals; cabal
    This school used to be really friendly, but now everyone keeps to their own cliques.
  2. A subgraph isomorphic to a complete graph.
    The problem of finding the largest clique in an arbitrary graph is NP-complete.


group of people






fr-noun f

Extensive Definition

A clique (IPA:/'klɪk/ in America, /'kliːk/ elsewhere) is an exclusive group of people who share common interests, views, purposes, patterns of behavior, or ethnicity. A clique is a subset of individuals from a larger group, who are more closely identified with one another than the remaining members of the group, and who exchange something among themselves, such as friendship, affection, or information.
A clique has an informal structure, and it is composed of more than two people. All the members of the group have some type of relationship with one another, and thus the group is tightly knit together as a type of social network.

Clique formation

According to some sociologists, one reason for the formation of a clique relates to the desire of individuals to compare themselves with other who are of the same social status. Another word for clique is reference group, or a group of individuals which is used as a standard by which to evaluate attitudes, abilities, or current situations. A clique as a reference group can be either normative or comparative.
A normative clique or reference group is the source of values and beliefs for the individual. The comparative clique or reference group is a standard of comparison by which individuals evaluate themselves and others. Individuals of a clique can view other individuals in their clique as the norm, while they tend to use other status groups or cliques as a frame of reference by which they compare themselves. Thus, cliques are formed in order for people to join with other individuals and establish a norm based on values, characteristics, or common interests, and to also use other groups of people as a frame of comparison for themselves.
A clique can exist in the workplace, in a community, in the classroom, in a business, or any other area of social interaction. Cliques tend to form within the boundaries of a larger group where opportunities to interact are great. Cliques are often associated with children and teenagers in a classroom setting. Schools are a prime place where peer network exist and can easily be accentuated through the differentiation of various cliques, and through the processes of inclusion and exclusion that characterize a clique.

See also

clique in Tosk Albanian: Primärgruppe
clique in Czech: Klika (sociologie)
clique in German: Primärgruppe
clique in Polish: Klika (podgrupa)
clique in Russian: Клика
clique in Simple English: Clique

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

age group, associate with, assort with, band, battalion, bevy, body, brigade, bunch, cabal, cadre, camarilla, camp, cast, cell, charmed circle, chum, chum together, chum with, circle, clan, clique with, closed circle, club together, cohort, company, complement, consort with, contingent, corps, coterie, covey, crew, crowd, detachment, detail, division, elite, elite group, faction, fellowship, fleet, flock together, fraternize, gang, group, grouping, groupment, hang around with, hang out with, herd together, hobnob with, in-group, ingroup, inner circle, join, join in fellowship, junta, junto, keep company with, mingle with, mix with, mob, movement, out-group, outfit, pack, pal, pal up with, pal with, party, peer group, phalanx, platoon, posse, regiment, ring, run in couples, run with, salon, set, sort with, squad, stable, string, take up with, team, tie up with, tribe, troop, troupe, we-group, wing
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