Definition of convention in English:

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Pronunciation: /kənˈvɛnʃ(ə)n/


1A way in which something is usually done: to attract the best patrons the movie houses had to ape the conventions and the standards of theatres
More example sentences
  • This person will be expected to learn the software development lifecycle practices, methods, conventions, and standards of the computer industry.
  • It overturns conventions and is taking on the global market leaders in a big way.
  • Already in his mid forties by this time, his editorial and advertising photography broke with conventions of fashion imagery in radical ways.
1.1 [mass noun] Behaviour that is considered acceptable or polite to most members of a society: he was an upholder of convention and correct form [count noun]: the law is felt to express social conventions
More example sentences
  • But, and there is the rub, every member of the Cabinet is expected by acceptable social convention to then go out and promote and defend what has been pronounced.
  • Most people err on the side of social convention, clapping politely as the drums pick up where the guitar left them, waiting for the drums to end to clap again while the stand-up bass does its thing.
  • She loves his madness and his badness; she loves the way he made her feel that the two of them were united against everyone else, against all the things that convention and society demanded of them.
rule, code, canon, punctilio;
accepted behaviour, conventionality, propriety, etiquette, protocol, formality, ceremonial
formal praxis
French moeurs
2An agreement between states covering particular matters, especially one less formal than a treaty: the convention, signed by the six states bordering on the Black Sea, aims to prevent further pollution
More example sentences
  • You have been signing treaties, conventions and protocols for children but have never honoured them with genuine intention and political will.
  • But this is exactly what most international human rights treaties and conventions, and national laws do.
  • As a trade Minister involved in all sorts of issues to do with conventions overseas and signing treaties, he has a better understanding than most.
3A large meeting or conference, especially of members of a political party or a particular profession or group: the party held its biennial convention
More example sentences
  • Be aware of ballet recitals, church conferences, conventions and club meetings.
  • A participant in the drawing up of the constitution as a member of the constitutional convention, he now let loose a barrage of abuse against its opponents.
  • I remind members of the convention that members should not conduct conversations in the House unless it is necessary, and then only in a way so as not to disturb the proceedings.
conference, meeting, congress, assembly, gathering, summit, council of delegates/representatives, symposium, forum, convocation, synod, conclave, diet, chapter
informal con, get-together
rare colloquium
3.1North American An assembly of the delegates of a political party to select candidates for office.
Example sentences
  • Utah nominates candidates for federal office at a state convention of approximately 1,500 delegates per congressional district.
  • Congressional nominees are selected in party conventions, unless no candidate gets more than 60 percent of the vote there.
  • With the emergence of organized political parties, the holding of a national party convention to select presidential candidates developed.
3.2A body set up by agreement to deal with a particular issue: the convention is a UN body responsible for the regulation of sea dumping
More example sentences
  • This convention dealt with issues of sustainable fishery catches and conservation of both aquatic species and habitats.
  • The convention was forced to deal with several critical issues within the black community.
  • The convention received a good deal of coverage at the time, but no lasting impact has been felt.
3.3 historical A meeting of Parliament without a summons from the sovereign.
Example sentences
  • After James's convenient flight to France, only a minority in the convention parliament so much as expressed scruples about the form in which the transfer of kingship was to take place.
  • These Conventions that later declared themselves to be Parliaments are therefore generally known by historians as 'Convention Parliaments'.
  • The Commons request William to take over the administration of the government and to summon a convention.
4 Bridge A bid or system of bidding by which the bidder tries to convey specific information about the hand to their partner, as opposed to seeking to win the auction.
Example sentences
  • B.J. Herbison's Playing Pinochle page describes a variation of Single Deck Pinochle, and a detailed set of suggested bidding conventions.
  • Create an online convention card, or many!
  • With only 15 words allowed during an auction and just 13 cards in each suit, bridge players have invented dozens of special bids, called conventions, to describe their strength and hand patterns.


Late Middle English (in sense 3): via Old French from Latin conventio(n-) 'meeting, covenant', from the verb convenire (see convene). sense 1 dates from the late 18th century.

Words that rhyme with convention

abstention, apprehension, ascension, attention, circumvention, comprehension, condescension, contention, contravention, declension, detention, dimension, dissension, extension, gentian, hypertension, hypotension, intention, intervention, invention, mention, misapprehension, obtention, pension, prehension, prevention, recension, retention, subvention, supervention, suspension, tension

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: con|ven|tion

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