con·​ven·​tion | \kən-ˈven(t)-shən \

Definition of convention 

1a : agreement, contract

b : an agreement between states for regulation of matters affecting all of them an international convention banning the spread of nuclear weapons

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 the conventions of grammar

2a : the summoning or convening of an assembly

b : an assembly of persons met for a common purpose a comic book convention 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

3a : usage or custom especially in social matters conventions of society

b : a rule of conduct or behavior

c : a practice in bidding or playing that conveys information between partners in a card game (such as bridge)

d : an established technique, practice, or device (as in the theater) The usual romantic conventions made the film predictable.

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Examples of convention in a Sentence

We go to the weeklong annual teachers' convention every summer. He bought some new books at the science fiction convention. The Democratic National Convention will meet next week to announce their party's candidate for president. It's important to follow the conventions of punctuation in a paper for school. They say school is just as important for teaching children social codes and conventions as for teaching math. Many sports shows have recently adopted the conventions of the talk show. a poet who rebels against literary convention The award that by convention should have gone to the student with the highest grade went instead to the teacher's favorite. As a matter of convention, the oldest members speak first. The director's use of the usual romantic conventions made the film boring and predictable.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Amazon had defied convention by turning the search into an unusually public beauty pageant. Shayndi Raice, WSJ, "Amazon Plans to Split HQ2 Evenly Between Two Cities," 5 Nov. 2018 Allowing players to redo their choices, to explore all possible outcomes, let the original Life Is Strange entirely pull apart the conventions of 3D adventure games. Julie Muncy, Ars Technica, "Life Is Strange 2, episode 1 review: New setting, same heart," 28 Sep. 2018 Patrick is in Texas to give an address to the NAACP convention in San Antonio on Monday. Annie Linskey,, "Former Mass. governor Deval Patrick to lend hand to campaigns in Texas," 13 July 2018 Downtown Indianapolis is often taken over by conventioneers, but few have the pageantry and style of Gen Con, the annual gaming convention. Sarah Bahr, Indianapolis Star, "Ultimate Indiana bucket list: 50+ things to do in Indianapolis and around the state," 11 July 2018 The tournament has defied convention despite being contested at an old-world golf club. Bill Pennington, New York Times, "Dustin Johnson Pulls Away in Round 2 of the U.S. Open," 15 June 2018 Of course, Jackson, who turns 52 on May 16, is no stranger to defying convention. Gail Mitchell, Billboard, "Why Cardi B, Beyoncé and Janet Jackson Prove the Power of Booking Women on Festival Lineups," 3 May 2018 The release of the new single was first announced at Anime Expo 2018 in Los Angeles, the largest Japanese pop culture convention in North America, and the news was received with massive cheers from the comic-con crowd. Billboard Japan, Billboard, "X JAPAN & HYDE Join Forces for 'Attack on Titan' Anime Series Opener, 'Red Swan'," 13 July 2018 Jonathan French has set out to challenge that convention, and the moral simplifications that go with it. Tom Shippey, WSJ, "Science Fiction: A New Novel Destined to Be a Classic," 28 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'convention.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of convention

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for convention

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

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Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for convention

The first known use of convention was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for convention



English Language Learners 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


con·​ven·​tion | \kən-ˈven-chən \

Kids Definition of convention

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

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 : agreement sense 3 a convention among nations



Legal Definition of convention 

1 : an agreement between nations for regulation of matters affecting all of them

2 : an agreement enforceable in law : contract

3 : 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

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a private place of worship

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