con·vic·tion | \ kən-ˈvik-shən \

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

McDowell, who couldn't legally own a gun because of the burglary conviction, was arrested after the purchase. Fox News, "Man who said he planned church attack gets nearly 3 years," 13 July 2018 Uresti’s broke and can’t afford the costs to appeal his conviction, his 12-year prison sentence and the $6.3 million in restitution owed to his victims, according to a new court filing. Patrick Danner, San Antonio Express-News, "Uresti wants taxpayers to pay for his appeal," 11 July 2018 Frost, of the 300 block of North Main Street, had three prior DUI convictions: 1991 and 1995 in Will County and 2002 in Cook County. Megan Jones, Aurora Beacon-News, "Montgomery driver who struck pedestrian in downtown Aurora pleads guilty to fourth DUI," 9 July 2018 Opponents ran background checks on hundreds of paid signature gatherers and found several people who had criminal convictions, a violation of state law. Richard Ruelas, azcentral, "Clean energy, taxes and anti-dirty money proposals submitted for November ballot," 5 July 2018 As a result of his conviction, Barboza-Lopez was legally banned from being at any public place, like a park or pool, where minors are likely to be present, the release said. Staff Report, Elgin Courier-News, "Elgin child sex offender charged with exposing himself, touching minor at Elgin pool, Kane state's attorney's office says," 3 July 2018 Bakalis said the sentence was based in part of Liszka’s criminal history, which includes seven previous felony convictions, primarily on drug charges, and a previous term in prison. Clifford Ward, Naperville Sun, "Former Melrose Park man gets 18 years for supplying heroin that led to death of Naperville man," 3 July 2018 Despite their firm convictions, and their deep-seated opposition to HUAC, quite a few of the actors were loath to be branded Communist sympathizers. Noah Isenberg, The New Republic, "Making the Movies Un-American," 3 July 2018 During the stop, a dispatcher advised the officer that Tatman had six prior OWI convictions, dating back to December 2000. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brookfield man charged with seventh OWI had nearly fatal blood alcohol content," 28 June 2018

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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Phrases Related to conviction

the courage of one's convictions

Statistics for conviction

Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for conviction

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

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More Definitions for conviction



English Language Learners Definition of conviction

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


con·vic·tion | \ kən-ˈvik-shən \

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

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