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powwow is an American Indian social gathering, which usually includes dancing and singing. In previous centuries it was also a time when they gathered to discuss things that pertained to the whole tribe. Today, it is mainly for social reasons. The powwow can last for days. It’s plural is powwows. 

It is sometimes spelled with a hyphen or as two words, but this is incorrect.

The term has come to be used for any gathering of people who need to talk about a particular topic that will require a lot of discussion.

Powwow can also be used as a verb and makes the forms powwows, powwowed, and powwowing. Its informal usage is mainly within the United States.

This word should be used with caution, as with all words that derive from indigenous peoples, as it has the potential to cause offense.


The nineteenth annual powwow at Cal State San Bernardino, which runs through late this afternoon, attracted “probably 15,000 and 20,000,” according to coordinator Tom Ramos. [The Sun]

Cindy Giago grew up dancing in powwows, but she had never made any of the regalia that Native American dancers wear. [Rapid City Journal]

Sedlowsky, along with a group of out-of-town mountain-bike experts, recently powwowed in Fruita Sept. 20-21, on a cross-country coaching tour called Dirt Series Skills Camp. [Post Independent]

After powwowing with others from both agencies and realizing there was no money available for pets of domestic violence victims, Spencer had the idea for a 50-mile run as a fundraiser to get something going, he said. [M Live]

It is far easier to believe that he has these details because he was somehow involved than it is to swallow that he powwows with the spirit world. [Yahoo TV]