noun con·vic·tion \ kən-ˈvik-shən \
|Updated on: 8 Aug 2018

Definition of conviction

1 : the act or process of finding a person guilty of a crime especially in a court of law
2 a : a strong persuasion or belief
b : the state of being convinced
3 a : 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

Examples of conviction in a Sentence

  1. … a perfect example, I told Bobby,  … why Realtors have to be prepared to work holidays. "Well, yeah," he said, utterly without conviction. —Jane SmileyGood Faith2003
  2. 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 CarverThe Story and Its Writer, edited by Ann Charters1987
  3. She spoke in … the voice which people often used to express their deepest convictions —Paula FoxA Servant's Tale1984
  4. Certainly the basis of our democracy is the conviction of the worth of the individual. —Robert Penn WarrenDemocracy and Poetry(1975) 1976
  5. She hopes to avoid conviction.

  6. In light of the evidence, a conviction seems certain.

  7. He has three prior drunk-driving convictions.

  8. Convictions for shoplifting have made it difficult for her to get a job.

  9. a person of deep convictions

  10. They share my strong conviction that the policy is misguided.

Recent Examples of conviction from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of conviction

Synonym Discussion of 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

CONVICTION Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of conviction for English Language Learners

  • law : the act of proving that a person is guilty of a crime in a court of law

  • : a strong belief or opinion

  • : the feeling of being sure that what you believe or say is true

CONVICTION Defined for Kids


noun con·vic·tion \ kən-ˈvik-shən \

Definition of conviction for Students

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.

Law Dictionary


noun con·vic·tion

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

Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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


subject to rapid or unexpected change

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens-painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!