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noun, sym·po·sium \sim-ˈpō-zē-əm also -zh(ē-)əm\

Simple Definition of symposium

  • : a formal meeting at which experts discuss a particular topic

  • : a collection of articles on a particular subject

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of symposium

plural symposiaplay \-zē-ə, -zh(ē-)ə\ or symposiums

  1. 1a :  a convivial party (as after a banquet in ancient Greece) with music and conversationb :  a social gathering at which there is free interchange of ideas

  2. 2a :  a formal meeting at which several specialists deliver short addresses on a topic or on related topics — compare colloquiumb :  a collection of opinions on a subject; especially :  one published by a periodicalc :  discussion

Examples of symposium in a sentence

  1. Professors and graduate students attended the symposium.

  2. <recently attended a daylong symposium on new methods of chromatography>

Did You Know?

It was drinking more than thinking that drew people to the original symposia and that gave us the word symposium. The ancient Greeks would often follow a banquet with a drinking party they called a "symposion." That name came from "sympinein," a verb that combines pinein, meaning "to drink," with the prefix syn-, meaning "together." Originally, English speakers only used "symposium" to refer to such an ancient Greek party, but in the 18th century British gentlemen's clubs started using the word for gatherings in which intellectual conversation was fueled by drinking. By the 19th century, "symposium" had gained the more sober sense we know today, describing meetings in which the focus is more on the exchange of ideas and less on imbibing.

Origin of symposium

Latin, from Greek symposion, from sympinein to drink together, from syn- + pinein to drink — more at potable

First Known Use: 1711

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