Share this entry

conversation piece Line breaks: con|ver|sa¦tion piece

Definition of conversation piece in English:


1A painting of a genre in which groups of figures are posed in a landscape or domestic setting, popular especially in the 18th century.
Example sentences
  • He preferred the small, informal portrait, the conversation piece, landscape, and genre painting to full-length portraits in 18th-century British art.
  • We have all seen the intense concentration that appears on the face of Anne Buxton in the conversation piece by Henry Walton, an expression that becomes the subject of Reynolds's ‘fancy’ picture A Boy Reading.
  • He is portrayed in a conversation piece of c.1735-40 by James Worsdale, now in the National Gallery of Ireland.
2An object whose unusual quality makes it a topic of conversation: an umbrella stand conversation piece painted in garish colours
More example sentences
  • Though it remains monotonous and fails to have the spark that will compel you to finish it, it oozes quality and would make a great conversation piece at Christmas Dinner.
  • They also make a great conversation piece because of their very unusual colors.
  • If you buy a properly researched piece of art, it will become a conversation piece and enrich lives.

Definition of conversation piece in:

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.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day innocuous
Pronunciation: ɪˈnɒkjʊəs
not harmful or offensive