adjective con·ven·tion·al \ kən-ˈvench-nəl , -ˈven(t)-shə-nᵊl \
|Updated on: 10 Aug 2018

Definition of conventional

1 : formed by agreement or compact
2 a : according with, sanctioned by, or based on convention
  • conventional spelling
  • conventional morality
b : lacking originality or individuality : trite
  • Most of her books are conventional detective stories.
c (1) : ordinary, commonplace
  • conventional medications
(2) : nonnuclear 1
  • conventional warfare
3 a : according with a mode of artistic representation that simplifies or provides symbols or substitutes for natural forms
b : of traditional design
4 : of, resembling, or relating to a convention, assembly, or public meeting


play \kən-ˈvench-nə-ˌli-zəm, -ˈven(t)-shə-\ noun


play \kən-ˈvench-nə-list, -ˈven(t)-shə-\ noun or adjective


play \kən-ˌvench-nə-lə-ˈzā-shən, -ˌven(t)-shə-nə-\ noun


play \kən-ˈvench-nə-ˌlīz, -ˈven(t)-shə-nə-\ transitive verb



Examples of conventional in a Sentence

  1. The number sign is the conventional symbol for labeling something measured in pounds.

  2. While microwaves heat up food more quickly, most food tastes better when it is cooked in a conventional oven.

  3. Most of her books are conventional detective stories.

  4. His views on dating are more conventional than those of some of his friends.

Recent Examples of conventional from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of conventional

Synonym Discussion of 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

CONVENTIONAL Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of conventional for English Language Learners

  • : used and accepted by most people : usual or traditional

  • : of a kind that has been around for a long time and is considered to be usual or typical

  • : common and ordinary : not unusual

CONVENTIONAL Defined for Kids


adjective con·ven·tion·al \ kən-ˈven-shə-nᵊl \

Definition of conventional for Students

1 : following the usual or widely accepted way of doing things
  • a conventional wedding ceremony
2 : used or accepted through general agreement
  • conventional signs and symbols

Law Dictionary


adjective con·ven·tion·al \ kən-ˈven-chə-nəl \

legal Definition of conventional

1 : based on, settled by, or formed by agreement : contractual — compare judicial 2, legal 2c
2 : of, like, or relating to a convention or public meeting

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