The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







The following article is about clique as a social group.

A clique is an exclusive social group formed between a few people who share a common interest. Cliques are informal social groups, while formal social groups are known as a society or organisation. Cliques are most popularly known in high schools and colleges, and are formed usually by girls.

Cliques can be complex and sophisticated, and can vary very much from one to another. However, there are common features which can be found in many cliques. Two of them are the Queen bee and the Outcast (common terms in Girl Cliques).


Queen bee

The Queen bee is the clique member who has 'emerged' as the leader of the clique. With looks, charisma and the power of manipulation, the queen bee reigns supreme over others and has substantial influence and power on the entire group.

Usually envied and looked upon as a role model by the other clique members, the queen bee's actions are closely followed and imitated, even though the actions of the queen bee may not be positive.

Individuals that the queen bee dislikes can be targeted and become outcasts; clique members may emulate the queen bee by victimizing the new outcast in order to continue to 'fit in'.


The Outcast is one targeted by the clique members, facing potentially physical and psychological attacks (cf. caste, untouchable). The outcast may be humiliated, set up, intimidated and even ostracized. There is little sympathy from witnesses to stand up and defend the outcast, for fear of falling out with the queen bee, being rejected and potentially being the next target.

The effect of the damage on an outcast is usually psychological. Being shunned and left out, the outcast may face isolation which can result in depression and psychological trauma; these effects may exhibit later in life in conditions such as anti-social behavior. Outcasts may have difficulty seeking help from an adult, as psychological damage can be hard to prove.

Arguments for and against cliques

Cliques can be fun and enjoyable, as members are regularly involved in social and recreation activities such as going out together. Clique members can also forge closer friendships, as they get to socialise more often. Some doctors think that cliques can help with the sense of belonging and the social skills of a child as they grow older.

On the other hand, cliques may influence members, through strong peer pressure, to start behavior perceived as bad by others, such as smoking or drug abuse. Problems involving cliques may also be a source of distraction from studies, and this is especially true for outcasts who may feel dejected and tormented.

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Last updated: 05-14-2005 06:43:11