Definition of conversation in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˌkänvərˈsāSH(ə)n/


1The informal exchange of ideas by spoken words: the two men were deep in conversation
More example sentences
  • In conversation we discuss the power of music to get us through those dark nights of the soul.
  • We tried to talk to him a few times, but he was not interested in conversation.
  • Marriage came up in conversation as I asked him if he would consider getting married.
discussion, talk, chat, gossip, tête-à-tête, heart-to-heart, exchange, dialogue
informal confab, jaw, chitchat, chinwag, gabfest
formal confabulation, colloquy
1.1An instance of this: she picked up the phone and held a conversation in French
More example sentences
  • I'd taken control of where this conversation was going and at the same time stopped it dead.
  • This reminded me of a very different conversation overheard in our previous gym steam room.
  • It's intriguing how quickly he will steer any given conversation back to politics.


make conversation

Talk for the sake of politeness without having anything to say.
Example sentences
  • Trying to create when you don't feel like it is like making conversation for the sake of making conversation.
  • She politely started to make conversation and the trio were laughing within minutes.
  • As I wait at the breakfast table, I attempt to make conversation with an elderly couple, but they don't speak English.


Middle English (in the sense 'living among, familiarity, intimacy'): via Old French from Latin conversatio(n-), from the verb conversari (see converse1).

  • In Latin conversare meant ‘to mix with people’. This is the source of conversation, which once meant ‘living among’ and ‘familiarity or intimacy’. The poet John Milton used the word in this latter sense when he refers in 1645 to ‘the good and peace of wedded conversation’. It could also at one time mean ‘sexual intercourse’, and criminal conversation was a legal term for adultery. The ‘talking’ sense dates from the late 16th century. See also chat

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: con·ver·sa·tion

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.