symposium

noun

sym·​po·​sium sim-ˈpō-zē-əm How to pronounce symposium (audio)
 also  -zh(ē-)əm
plural symposia sim-ˈpō-zē-ə How to pronounce symposium (audio)
-zh(ē-)ə
or symposiums
1
a
: a convivial party (as after a banquet in ancient Greece) with music and conversation
b
: a social gathering at which there is free interchange of ideas
2
a
: a formal meeting at which several specialists deliver short addresses on a topic or on related topics compare colloquium
b
: a collection of opinions on a subject
especially : one published by a periodical

Did you know?

It was drinking more than thinking that drew people to the original symposia and that gave us the word symposium. The ancient Greeks would often follow a banquet with a drinking party they called a symposion. That name came from sympinein, a verb that combines pinein, meaning "to drink," with the prefix syn-, meaning "together." Originally, English speakers only used symposium to refer to such an ancient Greek party, but in the 18th century British gentlemen's clubs started using the word for gatherings in which intellectual conversation was fueled by drinking. By the end of the 18th century, symposium had gained the more sober sense we know today, describing meetings in which the focus is more on the exchange of ideas and less on imbibing.

Examples of symposium in a Sentence

Professors and graduate students attended the symposium. recently attended a daylong symposium on new methods of chromatography
Recent Examples on the Web Why Kate Middleton Didn't Have Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis Visit Her in the Hospital The post was voiced over with Princess Kate's speech from the symposium. Stephanie Petit, Peoplemag, 1 Feb. 2024 Other neurologists have noticed neuropsychiatric deficits in their patients all along, said the neuroscientist Stephanie Rudolph of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, who co-organized the symposium with Fioravante. Rebecca Boyle, Quanta Magazine, 24 Jan. 2024 An agenda for the event shows Musk scheduled to appear at a symposium in Krakow for a discussion Monday with conservative commentator Ben Shapiro. Aaron Gregg, Washington Post, 18 Jan. 2024 Others giving talks at the symposium include Prof. Jack Shonkoff, director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. Simon Perry, Peoplemag, 15 Nov. 2023 In November, more than 100 doctors, parents and advocates gathered for a symposium in New York City to discuss everything from improving bereavement care in the U.S to tackling racial disparities in stillbirth. Duaa Eldeib, ProPublica, 10 Jan. 2024 In November of 2023, the American Heart Association hosted a symposium that included findings from two preliminary studies — one on how depression may accelerate cardiovascular risk factors, and one on the link between cumulative stress and plaque build-up in arteries. Gina Ryder, STAT, 3 Jan. 2024 Critics held online symposiums on Miami Vice and Public Enemies. John Semley, WIRED, 22 Dec. 2023 The Princess of Wales delivered the keynote speech at a symposium where findings from her Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood were presented Kate Middleton is taking the next step in her campaign for kids and their families. Simon Perry, Peoplemag, 15 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'symposium.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Latin, from Greek symposion, from sympinein to drink together, from syn- + pinein to drink — more at potable

First Known Use

1711, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of symposium was in 1711

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near symposium

Cite this Entry

“Symposium.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/symposium. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

symposium

noun
sym·​po·​sium sim-ˈpō-zē-əm How to pronounce symposium (audio)
 also  -zh(ē-)əm
plural symposia -zē-ə How to pronounce symposium (audio)
-zh(ē-)ə
or symposiums
1
: a group meeting at which there are several speeches and often a group discussion
2
: a collection of opinions on a subject
Etymology

from earlier symposium "a social gathering at which there is a free exchange of ideas," from Latin symposium "a party with much drinking and conversation," derived from Greek sympinein "to drink together," from syn- "together with" and pinein "to drink" — related to synonymous

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