per·​sua·​sion | \pər-ˈswā-zhən \

Definition of persuasion 

1a : the act or process or an instance of persuading

b : a persuading argument

c : the ability to persuade : persuasiveness

2 : the condition of being persuaded

3a : an opinion held with complete assurance

b : a system of religious beliefs also : a group adhering to a particular system of beliefs

4 : kind, sort

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Choose the Right Synonym for persuasion

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 persuasion in a Sentence

It would take a lot of persuasion to get him to agree to such an offer. Most kids don't need much persuasion to use computers. people of all different persuasions
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Recent Examples on the Web

For both parties, persuasion was out and inflaming the base was in. Karl Rove, WSJ, "Both Parties Win—and Lose," 7 Nov. 2018 Instead, public mistrust tends to be reserved for experts of a more academic persuasion. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "First thing we do, let’s kill all the experts," 21 Oct. 2018 He was convinced, also, that people could not be moved to abolish voluntarily the inhumanity of man to man by mere persuasion and pleading, but that they could be moved to do so by dramatizing the evil through massive nonviolent resistance. Time Staff, Time, "Only One Official Eulogy Was Delivered at Martin Luther King Jr.'s Public Funeral. Read the Full Text Here," 4 Apr. 2018 But Democrats, and many outside observers, say Trump’s inability to pull Saccone to victory, after swooping in for a rousing campaign rally days before the election, shows the limits of presidential persuasion and the GOP brand. Washington Post, "Pa. House race suggests almost no GOP candidate is safe," 15 Mar. 2018 But for too many Americans, persuasion and information are not enough. David French, National Review, "What the New York Times Gets Wrong about Conscience," 31 Jan. 2018 The exhibit is divided into sections to address the powers of kings, persuasion and insignia. Sarah Maiellano, USA TODAY, "Best European museum exhibits: Pink Floyd, Dutch Masters and more," 26 Jan. 2018 Perhaps the lesson from the incident is not the value of immediate persuasion, but the need to encourage the appreciation and embrace of civility. Blake D. Morant, The Atlantic, "In Praise of Civility," 24 May 2018 Bridges narrates the movie, which displays his folksy knack for mixing explanation with persuasion. Gary Thompson,, "Jeff Bridges talks about the Dude, the planet, and whatever else crosses his mind," 29 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'persuasion.' 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 persuasion

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for persuasion

Middle English persuasioun, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French persuasion, from Latin persuasion-, persuasio, from persuadēre

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Last Updated

24 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for persuasion

The first known use of persuasion was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for persuasion



English Language Learners Definition of persuasion

: the act of causing people to do or believe something : the act or activity of persuading people

: a particular type of belief or way of thinking


per·​sua·​sion | \pər-ˈswā-zhən \

Kids Definition of persuasion

1 : the act of convincing

2 : the power to convince

3 : a way of believing : belief He and his wife are of the same persuasion.


per·​sua·​sion | \pər-ˈswā-zhən \

Medical Definition of persuasion 

: a method of treating neuroses consisting essentially in rational conversation and reeducation

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Comments on persuasion

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


to make faulty or ineffective

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