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 That conviction does not end with St. Claire's staff—roughly a dozen national guard troops are assisting the hospital. CBS News, 22 Sep. 2021 Seven cases remain pending, and a judge ruled one defendant’s conviction should be subject to juvenile sentencing rules, Norgaard said. James Queally, Los Angeles Times, 6 Sep. 2021 Clear evidence would mean prosecutors have to prove, for example, the conviction was for possessing more than two and a half ounces or some other violation not covered by the ballot measure. Ryan Randazzo, The Arizona Republic, 5 June 2021 The conviction was unchanged but the death sentence was suspended. Jacob Beltran, San Antonio Express-News, 4 June 2021 The couple initially appealed their conviction to the Supreme Court of Virginia, but the state's ruling was upheld. Tommy Beer, Forbes, 10 Sep. 2021 In the court documents filed Friday, prosecutors alleged that Correia had made false statements about his trial in the wake of his conviction that portrayed himself as a victim., 10 Sep. 2021 Bill Cosby accuser Andrea Constand broke her silence Tuesday, discussing the comedian's release from prison in her first television interview since the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his assault conviction in June. NBC News, 7 Sep. 2021 Oklahoma City: The city is paying $2million to settle a former death row inmate’s federal lawsuit over his 1988 conviction for two murders. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 7 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

25 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Conviction.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 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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