I'm looking for single word synonyms for tête-à-tête, which express the idea of a private and intimate conversation. I wasn't able to find any.

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    The online thesaurus has an entry for tête-à-tête. – coleopterist Nov 4 '12 at 7:32
  • Thanks @coleopterist for the edits. The online thesaurus did indeed have synonyms. As mentioned, however, I was looking for a single word synonym. – ak86 Nov 7 '12 at 7:42

Aside from the entries found in the thesaurus, I might suggest:

  • face-to-face

Even though face-to-face is often used as an adjective (as in face-to-face meeting, face-to-face interview, or face-to-face instruction), face-to-face can also be used as a noun, meaning, well, tête-à-tête. Wiktionary defines face-to-face as:

A meeting, especially a meeting between two people conducted in person as opposed to a meeting conducted at a distance through technology.

Moreover, Google books shows the expression used as a noun, in instances such as:

Baretta needs to have a face to face with Robert and see that he has moved on...

Adelman suggested that we have a face-to-face with Jones, which we did.

In an unprecedented move, Clifford went to Chicago to have a face-to-face with Tony's superiors.

One other suggestion I might offer – particularly if you want to stress the intimacy of the conversation – is

  • pillow talk

OneLook lists this definition:

intimate conversation between lovers (typically occurring in bed)

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  • Single word request ;) – mplungjan Nov 4 '12 at 9:44
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    @mplungjan: Touché. :^) Still, if it gets its own entry in the dictionary, I consider that to fit the single-word-request bill. (The O.P. is free to disagree, of course.) – J.R. Nov 4 '12 at 9:51
  • +1 Let's have a "face-to-face" sometime soon is perfectly reasonable and a single word synonym for tête-à-tête. Just because thesaurus.com lists it as "face-to-face chat" doesn't mean that one cannot noun the adjective. – user21497 Nov 4 '12 at 10:06
  • Yeah - like Let's have a t-a-t is one word too... – mplungjan Nov 4 '12 at 10:20
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    @user21497 I've never seen a 'hyphenated word' have its 'single-wordness' disputed. But we really do need to tighten up on terms, so that say the equivalent compound nouns 'particle board', 'particle-board' and 'particleboard' are all termed (single) lexemes. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 2 '14 at 9:17

Confabulation, which can be shortened to the informal confab.

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  • It does not seem to be regarded as a synonym to T-a-T by the online thesauri. – mplungjan Nov 4 '12 at 7:40
  • Thanks Barrie. Interesting word ans suggestion, but I'm letting it pass for the negative connotation of fabricating lies to fill gaps in the memory. – ak86 Nov 7 '12 at 7:59
  • Actually, "confab" is an excellent suggestion -- it fits the meaning of tête-à-tête almost exactly and would be well-understood in the US. "Confabulation" is, alas, a poor choice, since it's most commonly used in the psychiatric sense to mean an imagined event. – Hot Licks Aug 1 '15 at 16:57

You can always try huddle, unless the sports metaphor isn't appropriate.

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  • Thanks Bill. Huddle isn't exactly the word I was looking for as I was looking for something between two people, but I like it, and might end up using it. – ak86 Nov 7 '12 at 7:58
  • Two people can have a huddle. It is, actually, one of those words that has an oblique romantic connotation. And it rhymes with cuddle. :-) – user21497 Nov 7 '12 at 8:13

The normal English equivalent is heart-to-heart - an intimate talk in private; "he took me aside for a little heart-to-heart".

Unlike tete-a-tete, heart-to-heart is often followed by the word "talk".

I don't use it myself, but for an undeniably "single word" alternative, there's schmooze verb: to talk intimately and cozily; gossip. noun: a long and intimate conversation. Some may feel this word always implies ...in order to manipulate, flatter, or impress someone.

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  • Thanks @fumblefingers. I like heart-to-heart, but I think face-to-face fits tete-a-tete as a synonym better. Schmooze, as you say, has a negative connotation, at least for me. – ak86 Nov 7 '12 at 7:54
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    @ak86: If you're happy with "face-to-face" that's your choice, I guess. But I'm surprised others are voting in that direction, since the primary sense of "face-to-face" is interact in person (not, for example, on the telephone). You'll find it's very often used as an adjective, followed by "formal/business" words like meeting, interview, environment. Unlike "heart-to-heart" (which always implies "intimacy/privacy/honesty"), and more often either stands alone as a noun itself, or modifies words like chat, talk, conversation. – FumbleFingers Nov 7 '12 at 12:43
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    A late comment, but I find in conversation (rather than print), "heart-to-heart" is not followed by "talk". It may be regional, however. – TylerH Apr 16 '15 at 16:33

Use 'formal meeting' or 'personal meeting' instead of face-to-face; as face to face sounds very confrontational.

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  • Welcome to EL&U, Gerard . We appreciate your input. We also appreciate links to sources where applicable. :) – anongoodnurse Jan 2 '14 at 6:29
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    I'd say there's only a faint hint of a confrontational encounter: see FF's 'comment'(!) above. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 2 '14 at 9:10
  • Not as confrontational as "head-to-head", which is another option. – Hot Licks Aug 1 '15 at 16:52

How about surreptitious or covert?

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  • Thanks @Mottie, but I don't think either of them are a synonym to tete-a-tete as there's no secret talks. – ak86 Nov 7 '12 at 7:56

Mano a mano might be an alternative, but obviously only in an all male setting and neither does it possess the hush-hush quality you are looking for.

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