con·​vic·​tion kən-ˈvik-shən How to pronounce conviction (audio)
: the act or process of finding a person guilty of a crime especially in a court of law
: a strong persuasion or belief
: the state of being convinced
: the act of convincing a person of error or of compelling the admission of a truth
: the state of being convinced of error or compelled to admit the truth
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

Example Sentences

… 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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Police are treating Wilson’s death as a homicide and are offering a $25,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible. Kyle Swenson, Washington Post, 20 Nov. 2022 Her arrest and conviction came amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and the Kremlin over Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Caitlin Yilek, CBS News, 3 Nov. 2022 The study, launched in 2016 in partnership with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, analyzed arrest and conviction data captured from 2010 through 2016. cleveland, 23 Oct. 2022 Jon Burge, was released from prison last year after Gov. J.B. Pritzker commuted his life sentence amid a series of bizarre turns that saw Reed’s murder conviction overturned, reinstated and then overturned again. Chicago Tribune Staff, Chicago Tribune, 26 Oct. 2022 In Indiana, a murder conviction is punishable by the death penalty, life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, or between 45 and 65 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Safia Samee Ali, NBC News, 13 Oct. 2022 Baltimore prosecutors on Tuesday dropped Maryland's criminal case against Adnan Syed, whose story and murder conviction were the focus of the hit podcast Serial. Harold Maass, The Week, 12 Oct. 2022 Syed’s murder conviction should continue, given that the state dropped Syed’s charges Tuesday. Lee O. Sanderlin, Baltimore Sun, 12 Oct. 2022 The decision comes after a Baltimore judge last month overturned Syed’s murder conviction and ordered him released from prison. Los Angeles Times, 12 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

Word History


see convict entry 2

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near conviction

Cite this Entry

“Conviction.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



con·​vic·​tion kən-ˈvik-shən How to pronounce conviction (audio)
: the act of convicting : the state of being convicted
: a strong belief or opinion
has deep convictions
: the state of mind of a person who is sure that what he or she believes or says is true
spoke with conviction

Legal Definition



: 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.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on conviction

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