(2 syl.). A set of rooms, all of which are entered by one
common key (Latin, con clavis). The word is applied to the
little deal cells erected in some large apartment for the cardinals who
meet to choose a new Pope, because the long gallery of the Vatican
between the cells and the windows of the palace is common ground to all
the conclavists. The assembly itself is, by a figure of speech, also
called a conclave.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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