conventional wisdom


Definition of conventional wisdom

: the generally accepted belief, opinion, judgment, or prediction about a particular matter

Examples of conventional wisdom in a Sentence

Conventional wisdom in Hollywood says that a movie can't succeed unless it stars a famous actor or actress.

Recent Examples on the Web

There will always be someone ready to buck the conventional wisdom, ready to buy when the market is low. Sam Knight, The New Yorker, "The Empty Promise of Boris Johnson," 13 June 2019 For a century and more, the conventional wisdom about the evolution of the financial systems embodied in institutions like Lehman Brothers was that modern American capitalism was built not on the slave economy, but on its collapse. Sarah Churchwell, The New York Review of Books, "‘The Lehman Trilogy’ and Wall Street’s Debt to Slavery," 11 June 2019 The conventional wisdom on the Democratic side is largely predicated on a storybook version of the Democratic Party’s fall from grace and long, grinding return to power, undertaken by moderates rescuing the party from feckless liberals. Alex Pareene, The New Republic, "In search of the Democratic Party's fighting spirit," 20 June 2019 But that conventional wisdom is basically wrong, says the large consulting, auditing, and risk-management firm Deloitte. Marc Bain, Quartz, "US consumer spending hasn’t changed much in 30 years, with one exception," 30 May 2019 The speed and certainty with which the conventional wisdom in Washington flips can be a comical thing to watch. Michael Tomasky, The New York Review of Books, "Michael Tomasky," 21 Feb. 2019 Yeah, that was the conventional wisdom two years ago. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Full Q&A: Redef CEO Jason Hirschhorn returns to Recode Media with Peter Kafka," 23 Aug. 2018 The conventional wisdom around Silicon Valley is that dockless, not docked systems, are the future, so this may seem unhelpful. Aarian Marshall, WIRED, "Lyft’s Big Bike Share Buy Is About Ruling the Streets," 2 July 2018 That said, there is a prevailing conventional wisdom in the world of recruiting that helps determine which recruiting concepts should be embraced and which are overrated and should be left behind. Eric Titner, USA TODAY, "4 overrated recruiting concepts you need to ditch this year," 10 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'conventional wisdom.' 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 conventional wisdom

1838, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for conventional wisdom

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

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The first known use of conventional wisdom was in 1838

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More Definitions for conventional wisdom

conventional wisdom


English Language Learners Definition of conventional wisdom

: opinions or beliefs that are held or accepted by most people

More from Merriam-Webster on conventional wisdom

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for conventional wisdom

Britannica English: Translation of conventional wisdom for Arabic Speakers

Comments on conventional wisdom

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


to form ideas or theories about something

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