Choose the right word
conversation, chat, colloquy, communion, dialogue, parley, tête-à-tête
It is nearly impossible for most people to get through a day without having a conversation with someone, even if it's only a chat with the mailman. Although conversation can and does take place in all sorts of contexts, both formal and informal, the word usually implies a relaxed, casual exchange. A chat is the least formal of all conversations, whether it's a father talking to his son about girls or two women having a tête-à-tête (French for 'head to head,' meaning a confidential conversation) about their wayward husbands. A spouse may complain that his or her partner doesn't understand the meaning of dialogue, which is a two-way conversation that may involve opposing points of view. Argument is even more likely to play a role in a parley, which formally is a discussion between enemies regarding the terms of a truce. A colloquy is the most formal of all conversations ( a colloquy on nuclear disarmament); it can also be used to jocularly describe a guarded exchange ( a brief colloquy with the arresting officer). Communion is a form of conversation as well—one that may take place on such a profound level that no words are necessary ( communion with nature).