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.

Example Sentences

Professors and graduate students attended the symposium. recently attended a daylong symposium on new methods of chromatography
Recent Examples on the Web This symposium was specifically dedicated to the topic of central bank independence. Q.ai - Powering A Personal Wealth Movement, Forbes, 25 Jan. 2023 But how the stuffing was made is a 45-minute symposium. Christopher Borrelli, Chicago Tribune, 23 Nov. 2022 Margo Moore, 28, a teen services librarian who traveled to the symposium from Lawrence, Kan., said that interest in books featured in popular TikTok videos often spikes in the days and weeks that follow. Lora Kelley, New York Times, 30 Dec. 2022 Evanston Reparations Committee member Robin Rue Simmons was awarded the 2022 American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity Rosa Parks Award during the second National African American Reparations Commission’s symposium. Alex Hulvalchick, Chicago Tribune, 6 Dec. 2022 The three-day symposium held at Pepper Place and Sloss Furnaces featured a series of panels and workshops about cooking, culinary history, food writing, and farming. al, 4 Nov. 2022 The Breast Cancer Research Foundation held its annual symposium and awards luncheon on Thursday at the New York Hilton Midtown. Kirsten Chuba, The Hollywood Reporter, 28 Oct. 2022 All symposium ticketholders will be able to view the exhibition, which opens to the public the following day. Dallas News, 28 Oct. 2022 Inside the museum, visitors can see the exhibit and archives, as well as an artist symposium with some of the muralists who’ve painted the park in recent years. Emily Alvarenga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 Oct. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'symposium.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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

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Dictionary Entries Near symposium

Cite this Entry

“Symposium.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/symposium. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on symposium

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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