con·​vic·​tion | \ kən-ˈvik-shən How to pronounce conviction (audio) \

Essential Meaning of conviction

1 law : the act of proving that a person is guilty of a crime in a court of law She hopes to avoid conviction. In light of the evidence, a conviction seems certain. See More ExamplesHe has three prior/previous drunk-driving convictions. Convictions for shoplifting have made it difficult for her to get a job.Hide
2 : a strong belief or opinion religious convictions a person of deep convictions They share my strong/firm conviction that the policy is misguided.
3 : the feeling of being sure that what you believe or say is true She spoke with conviction. His words lacked conviction.

Full Definition of conviction

1 : the act or process of finding a person guilty of a crime especially in a court of law
2a : a strong persuasion or belief
b : the state of being convinced
3a : the act of convincing a person of error or of compelling the admission of a truth
b : the state of being convinced of error or compelled to admit the truth

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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

Examples of conviction in a Sentence

… 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web The new analysis pairing that data with conviction history shows that, in 2019, the racial disparity in convictions seems largely contained in the 45% of cases involving defendants with no prior convictions. Zach Murdock,, 3 Oct. 2021 The Ohio Supreme Court voted unanimously to vacate Kelly Foreman’s conviction, the ruling says. Kaylee Remington, cleveland, 2 Oct. 2021 However, his conviction wavers when his mother refuses to stay in the hospital and get surgery to treat her diabetes because of the enormous costs. Quinci Legardye, Vulture, 1 Oct. 2021 When the court meets, state Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud will ask it to overturn a federal appeals court's decision last year saying Davenport's conviction should be set aside. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, 30 Sep. 2021 But these provisions and penalties have not resulted in higher conviction rates, or a decrease in these crimes. Adie Vanessa Offiong, CNN, 30 Sep. 2021 In New York, where the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act decriminalized marijuana, past conviction records are eligible for expungement, and the state has two years to find all of them and complete expungement. Jeanine Santucci, USA TODAY, 30 Sep. 2021 The pyro and the masks — effectively unsettling, never silly, thanks to the musicians' conviction — are Slipknot signatures. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 30 Sep. 2021 As her practice grew, so did LaPolt’s conviction for righting the music ecosystem’s wrongs. Shirley Halperin, Variety, 29 Sep. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of conviction

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for conviction

see convict entry 2

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Time Traveler for conviction

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

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Dictionary Entries Near conviction

convict goods



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Last Updated

7 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Conviction.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for conviction


con·​vic·​tion | \ kən-ˈvik-shən How to pronounce conviction (audio) \

Kids Definition of conviction

1 : a strong belief or opinion political convictions
2 : the state of mind of a person who is sure that what he or she believes or says is true She spoke with conviction.
3 : the act of proving or finding guilty : the state of being proven guilty He appealed his conviction.



Legal Definition of conviction

1 : 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.

2 : guilt the judge will enter a judgment of conviction— W. R. LaFave and J. H. Israel

More from Merriam-Webster on conviction

Nglish: Translation of conviction for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of conviction for Arabic Speakers


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