con·​ven·​tion·​al | \kən-ˈvench-nəl, -ˈven(t)-shə-nᵊl\

Definition of conventional 

1 : formed by agreement or compact

2a : 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 sense 1 conventional warfare

3a : 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from conventional

conventionalism \ kən-​ˈvench-​nə-​ˌli-​zəm , -​ˈven(t)-​shə-​ \ noun
conventionalist \ kən-​ˈvench-​nə-​list , -​ˈven(t)-​shə-​ \ noun or adjective
conventionalization \ kən-​ˌvench-​nə-​lə-​ˈzā-​shən , -​ˌven(t)-​shə-​nə-​ \ noun
conventionalize \ kən-​ˈvench-​nə-​ˌlīz , -​ˈven(t)-​shə-​nə-​ \ 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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

But for Moon, whose aides have been hinting at his eagerness to secure protection from the North's conventional weapons, this looks like a domestic win, provided the two sides can follow through. Fox News, "Analysis: Summit could be domestic win for S. Korean leader," 19 Sep. 2018 And they're designed to be maneuverable, which differentiates them from intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and other fast-flying conventional weapons systems that follow predictable paths. Mike Wall,, "US Air Force Zooms Ahead on 2 New Hypersonic Weapons Plans," 20 Aug. 2018 According to some experts, coconut oil could help you in the above endeavors, though not enough to replace conventional treatment methods. Korin Miller, SELF, "Does Coconut Oil Actually Work Any Magic on Eczema?," 19 July 2018 Mr Armstrong became an advocate for crypto-currencies after seeing the difficulties of moving conventional money around the world. The Economist, "A disciplined startup emerges from the Wild West of crypto-currency," 28 June 2018 According to Abuelsamid, conventional car companies spend months carefully calibrating these systems, testing them on a wide variety of surfaces and weather conditions. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Tesla’s over-the-air brake upgrade was amazing—and also a bit worrying," 31 May 2018 With nukes on hand, ballistic missiles in development, and thousands of conventional weapons aimed at Seoul, the North Korean leader could conceivably use his deterrent capabilities to string the U.S. and South Korea along for years to come. Jonah Shepp, Daily Intelligencer, "Is Trump Getting Played by North Korea?," 18 May 2018 Prine’s been an American treasure since his wry debut album back in ’71, and has always drawn from folk and roots traditions without any regard for genre—or for conventional singing. Nick Marino, GQ, "A Conversation With Country Legend John Prine, Your Favorite Songwriter’s Favorite Songwriter," 20 Apr. 2018 Even if Trump kept the space weaponry conventional, there’s a risk of nuclear escalation back on Earth. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "Donald Trump Said America Is Going to Mars. Here’s Why That Won’t Happen Any Time Soon," 16 Mar. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of conventional

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for conventional

see convention

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about conventional

Share conventional

Statistics for conventional

Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for conventional

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for conventional



English Language Learners Definition of conventional

: 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


con·​ven·​tion·​al | \kən-ˈven-shə-nᵊl \

Kids Definition of conventional

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


con·​ven·​tion·​al | \kən-ˈven-chə-nəl \

Legal Definition of conventional 

1 : based on, settled by, or formed by agreement : contractual — compare judicial sense 2, legal sense 2c

2 : of, like, or relating to a convention or public meeting

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on conventional

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


by force of circumstances

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!