Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun con·ven·tion \kən-ˈven(t)-shən\

Simple Definition of convention

  • : a large meeting of people who come to a place for usually several days to talk about their shared work or other interests or to make decisions as a group

  • : a custom or a way of acting or doing things that is widely accepted and followed

  • : a traditional or common style often used in literature, theater, or art to create a particular effect

Full Definition of convention

  1. 1 a :  agreement, contract b :  an agreement between states for regulation of matters affecting all of them c :  a compact between opposing commanders especially concerning prisoner exchange or armistice d :  a general agreement about basic principles or procedures; also :  a principle or procedure accepted as true or correct by convention

  2. 2 a :  the summoning or convening of an assembly b :  an assembly of persons met for a common purpose; especially :  a meeting of the delegates of a political party for the purpose of formulating a platform and selecting candidates for office c :  the usually state or national organization of a religious denomination

  3. 3 a :  usage or custom especially in social matters b :  a rule of conduct or behavior c :  a practice in bidding or playing that conveys information between partners in a card game (as bridge) d :  an established technique, practice, or device (as in the theater)

Examples of convention

  1. We go to the weeklong annual teachers' convention every summer.

  2. He bought some new books at the science fiction convention.

  3. The Democratic National Convention will meet next week to announce their party's candidate for president.

  4. It's important to follow the conventions of punctuation in a paper for school.

  5. They say school is just as important for teaching children social codes and conventions as for teaching math.

  6. Many sports shows have recently adopted the conventions of the talk show.

  7. a poet who rebels against literary convention

  8. The award that by convention should have gone to the student with the highest grade went instead to the teacher's favorite.

  9. As a matter of convention, the oldest members speak first.

  10. The director's use of the usual romantic conventions made the film boring and predictable.

Origin of convention

Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin convention-, conventio, from convenire

First Known Use: 15th century

Other Game Terms

Rhymes with convention

CONVENTION Defined for Kids


noun con·ven·tion \kən-ˈven-chən\

Definition of convention

  1. 1 :  a meeting of people for a common purpose <a teachers' convention>

  2. 2 :  a custom or a way of acting and doing things that is widely accepted and followed <Follow the conventions of punctuation in your writing.>

  3. 3 :  agreement 3 <a convention among nations>

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up convention? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 7, 2016

a slight offense

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

spindrift kittly-benders pince-nez duvet
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.