con·​vic·​tion kən-ˈvik-shən How to pronounce conviction (audio)
: the act or process of finding a person guilty of a crime especially in a court of law
: a strong persuasion or belief
: the state of being convinced
: the act of convincing a person of error or of compelling the admission of a truth
: the state of being convinced of error or compelled to admit the truth
Choose the Right Synonym for conviction

certainty, certitude, conviction mean a state of being free from doubt.

certainty and certitude are very close; certainty may stress the existence of objective proof

claims that cannot be confirmed with scientific certainty

, while certitude may emphasize a faith in something not needing or not capable of proof.

believes with certitude in an afterlife

conviction applies especially to belief strongly held by an individual.

holds firm convictions on every issue

opinion, view, belief, conviction, persuasion, sentiment mean a judgment one holds as true.

opinion implies a conclusion thought out yet open to dispute.

each expert seemed to have a different opinion

view suggests a subjective opinion.

very assertive in stating his views

belief implies often deliberate acceptance and intellectual assent.

a firm belief in her party's platform

conviction applies to a firmly and seriously held belief.

the conviction that animal life is as sacred as human

persuasion suggests a belief grounded on assurance (as by evidence) of its truth.

was of the persuasion that everything changes

sentiment suggests a settled opinion reflective of one's feelings.

her feminist sentiments are well-known

Example Sentences

… a perfect example, I told Bobby,  … why Realtors have to be prepared to work holidays. "Well, yeah," he said, utterly without conviction. Jane Smiley, Good Faith, 2003 It was his conviction that if the words in the story were blurred because of the author's insensitivity, carelessness, or sentimentality, then the story suffered from a tremendous handicap. Raymond Carver, The Story and Its Writer, edited by Ann Charters, 1987 She spoke in … the voice which people often used to express their deepest convictions Paula Fox, A Servant's Tale, 1984 Certainly the basis of our democracy is the conviction of the worth of the individual. Robert Penn Warren, Democracy and Poetry, (1975) 1976 She hopes to avoid conviction. In light of the evidence, a conviction seems certain. He has three prior drunk-driving convictions. Convictions for shoplifting have made it difficult for her to get a job. a person of deep convictions They share my strong conviction that the policy is misguided. See More
Recent Examples on the Web This gap gives rise to a conviction that either the parent is wrong or the world is. Leslie Jamison, The New Yorker, 6 Feb. 2023 San Juan County Commissioner Bruce Adams's son, Kenneth, was arrested on Nov. 25, 2022, on a warrant related to a burglary conviction in 2020. Rachel Schilke, Washington Examiner, 30 Jan. 2023 Polarized politics add to a growing conviction that, to innovate in areas like ESG, the private sector will have to lead the way. Diane Brady, Forbes, 26 Jan. 2023 Alex Murdaugh and his other son, Buster, announce a $100,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the person or persons responsible for the killings of Maggie and Paul. Elise Hammond, CNN, 25 Jan. 2023 Compelling circumstantial evidence can lead to a conviction in such a case, Medwed said. John R. Ellement,, 19 Jan. 2023 In addition to the conviction in a state court, Chauvin pleaded guilty to a separate federal civil rights charge and was sentenced to 21 years in federal prison, according to the Associated Press. Melissa Montoya, Peoplemag, 18 Jan. 2023 Under the terms of the deal, 11 counts of conspiracy, bribery and grand theft were to be whittled down to a conviction for grand theft and Salari would get 2 years’ felony probation and 45 days’ community service, according to court records. Richard Wintonstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 13 Jan. 2023 Weisselberg then appeared as the prosecution's star witness at the company's trial, which led to the company's conviction last year. Harold Maass, The Week, 11 Jan. 2023 See More

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

Word History


see convict entry 2

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near conviction

Cite this Entry

“Conviction.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


con·​vic·​tion kən-ˈvik-shən How to pronounce conviction (audio)
: the act of convicting : the state of being convicted
: a strong belief or opinion
has deep convictions
: the state of mind of a person who is sure that what he or she believes or says is true
spoke with conviction

Legal Definition


: the act or process of convicting
also : the final judgment entered after a finding of guilt
a prior conviction of murder
would not overturn the conviction
compare acquittal

Note: Jurisdictions differ as to what constitutes conviction for various statutes (as habitual offender statutes). Conviction is rarely applied to civil cases.

: guilt
the judge will enter a judgment of convictionW. R. LaFave and J. H. Israel

More from Merriam-Webster on conviction

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