AskDefine | Define coterie

Dictionary Definition

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

User Contributed Dictionary



/ˈkəʊtəri/, /"k@Ut@ri/


  1. A circle of people who associate with one another.
    The new junior employee joined our merry after-hours coterie.
  2. An exclusive group of people, who associate closely for a common purpose; a clique.
    A tightly-knit coterie of executive powerbrokers made all the real decisions in the company.
  3. A communal burrow of prairie dogs.
    The coterie was located in the middle of our wheat field.

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

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

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

age group, band, battalion, bevy, body, brigade, bunch, cabal, cadre, camarilla, cast, cell, charmed circle, circle, clan, clique, closed circle, cohort, company, complement, contingent, corps, covey, crew, crowd, detachment, detail, division, elite, elite group, faction, fleet, gang, group, grouping, groupment, in-group, ingroup, inner circle, junta, junto, mob, movement, out-group, outfit, pack, party, peer group, phalanx, platoon, posse, regiment, ring, salon, set, squad, stable, string, team, tribe, troop, troupe, we-group, wing
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