SHANE’S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: Click if you can identify the clique.


It’s another mind-expanding installment of SHANE’S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS, a regular Wednesday feature at NA Confidential.

The most recent Nielsen report shows that more of you are reading SHANE’S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS than are attending local Democratic Central Committee meetings — so we’ve got THAT going for us.

Around this time each week, wails of self-flagellation and angst begin seeping out of the bunker’s down-low ventilation ducts.

Why all these newfangled words?

Why not the old, familiar, comforting words, the ones that sufficed back during the glory days, long before bad taste and naked greed kicked in like a bond-issue-percentage speedball, knocking you back into the turnbuckles but feeling oh so fine, and now, as the Great Elongated and Exasperated Obfuscator of comic book series fame (can Disney World be far behind?) you teach detailed principles of banking to actual bankers, at least when not otherwise occupied making healthy deposits into your own account?

Thankfully, even if one toils for the Curative Civic Healer (Heeler?), a healthy vocabulary isn’t about intimidation through erudition. Rather, it’s about selecting the right word and using it correctly, whatever one’s pay grade or station in life.

Even municipal corporate attorneys reaping handsome remuneration to suppress information, squelch community dialogue and flee the council chamber before being forced to endure dissenting words uttered by grubby martini-swilling constituents, can benefit from this enlightening expansion of personal horizons, and really, as we contemplate TIFs, CPIs, IUDs and IOUs, all we really have is time — and the opportunity to learn something, if we’re so inclined.

This week, not a claque but a click.


[kleek, klik]


1. a small, exclusive group of people; coterie; set

verb (used without object), cliqued, cliquing.

2. Informal. to form, or associate in, a clique

Origin of clique

Middle French
1705-15; < French, apparently metaphorical use of Middle French clique latch, or noun derivative of cliquer to make noise, resound, imitative word parallel to click

Related forms

cliqueless, adjective
cliquey, cliquy, adjective
cliquism, noun
subclique, noun

The British definitions for clique include further background.

Word Origin and History for clique


1711, “a party of persons; a small set, especially one associating for exclusivity,” from obsolete French clique, originally (14c.) “a sharp noise,” also “latch, bolt of a door,” from Old French cliquer “click, clatter, crackle, clink,” 13c., echoic. Apparently this word was at one time treated in French as the equivalent of claque (q.v.) and partook of that word’s theatrical sense.

Let’s end with a quote about cliques.

No matter where you are in your life, whatever set of people you’re with, it all still breaks down like high school does. You have your social cliques, you have the people you get along with, the people you don’t and the people you’re ambivalent about. All of the dynamics are still here.
— Colin Hanks

Wait — Hanks attended NAHS?

He didn’t?

Ah, okay (slaps head) … that’s why he’s not a city councilman.