con·​ven·​tion·​al kən-ˈvench-nəl How to pronounce conventional (audio)
: formed by agreement or compact
: according with, sanctioned by, or based on convention
conventional spelling
conventional morality
: lacking originality or individuality : trite
Most of her books are conventional detective stories.
: ordinary, commonplace
conventional medications
: nonnuclear sense 1
conventional warfare
: according with a mode of artistic representation that simplifies or provides symbols or substitutes for natural forms
: of traditional design
: of, resembling, or relating to a convention, assembly, or public meeting
conventionalism noun
kən-ˈvench-nə-list How to pronounce conventional (audio)
noun or adjective
conventionalization noun
kən-ˈvench-nə-ˌlīz How to pronounce conventional (audio)
transitive verb
conventionally adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for conventional

ceremonial, ceremonious, formal, conventional mean marked by attention to or adhering strictly to prescribed forms.

ceremonial and ceremonious both imply strict attention to what is prescribed by custom or by ritual, but ceremonial applies to things that are associated with ceremonies

a ceremonial offering

, ceremonious to persons given to ceremony or to acts attended by ceremony.

made his ceremonious entrance

formal applies both to things prescribed by and to persons obedient to custom and may suggest stiff, restrained, or old-fashioned behavior.

a formal report
the headmaster's formal manner

conventional implies accord with general custom and usage

conventional courtesy

and may suggest a stodgy lack of originality or independence.

conventional fiction

Examples of conventional in a Sentence

The number sign is the conventional symbol for labeling something measured in pounds. While microwaves heat up food more quickly, most food tastes better when it is cooked in a conventional oven. Most of her books are conventional detective stories. His views on dating are more conventional than those of some of his friends.
Recent Examples on the Web Both of those movies are more conventional romantic comedies; here, Galitzine gets a darker edge and the space to show said darkness’ development over time. Alison Herman, Variety, 5 Apr. 2024 Hull 146 will be powered by a state-of-the-art diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system that is more efficient and uses less fuel than conventional setups, CRN says. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 5 Apr. 2024 This is, in many ways, a classic bildungsroman swathed in an even more conventional romantic comedy. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Apr. 2024 One important aspect of the initiative’s work is curriculum guides for educators, introducing students to the history of women composers before conventional music history can teach them otherwise. Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post, 4 Apr. 2024 In fact, the arty posturing in La Chimera is rather conventional. Armond White, National Review, 3 Apr. 2024 At no point did Farley consider a more conventional route such as film school or a low-level job in the entertainment industry. Brett Martin, New York Times, 31 Mar. 2024 As of Thursday, rates for a conventional 30-year loan stood at 6.87%, while the median home price as of February was $384,000, according to the National Association of Realtors. Khristopher J. Brooks, CBS News, 28 Mar. 2024 The model’s arrival at dealerships has been delayed, but Porsche proudly displayed one on its New York stand alongside a conventional Macan and its electric Taycan. Alex Kwanten, Forbes, 28 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'conventional.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see convention

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of conventional was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near conventional

Cite this Entry

“Conventional.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


con·​ven·​tion·​al kən-ˈvench-nəl How to pronounce conventional (audio)
: following, agreeing with, or based on convention
conventional people
conventional remarks
a conventional detective story

Legal Definition


con·​ven·​tion·​al kən-ˈven-chə-nəl How to pronounce conventional (audio)
: based on, settled by, or formed by agreement : contractual compare judicial sense 2, legal sense 2c
: of, like, or relating to a convention or public meeting

More from Merriam-Webster on conventional

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