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[kon-fer-uh ns, -fruh ns] /ˈkɒn fər əns, -frəns/
a meeting for consultation or discussion:
a conference between a student and his adviser.
the act of conferring or consulting together; consultation, especially on an important or serious matter.
Government. a meeting, as of various committees, to settle disagreements between the two branches of the legislature.
an association of athletic teams; league:
an intercollegiate conference.
  1. an official assembly of clergy or of clergy and laity, customary in many Christian denominations.
  2. a group of churches whose representatives regularly meet in such an assembly.
verb (used without object), conferenced, conferencing.
to hold or participate in a conference or series of conferences.
Origin of conference
From the Medieval Latin word conferentia, dating back to 1530-40. See confer, -ence
Related forms
[kon-fuh-ren-shuh l] /ˌkɒn fəˈrɛn ʃəl/ (Show IPA),
preconference, noun
subconference, noun
subconferential, adjective
1. parley, colloquium.
Synonym Study
1. See convention. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for conference
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • “What we want is to administer a tonic to the conference in Milan,” he said airily.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • Long was the conference, and sleepless the couch, of Mr. and Mrs. Morton.

    Night and Morning, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • He had just left a conference of high officers, and he came upon a mission.

    The Rock of Chickamauga Joseph A. Altsheler
  • He managed the conference with his usual consummate dexterity.

    Alice, or The Mysteries, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • She stopped in the roadway, as if to put an end to the conference.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
British Dictionary definitions for conference


/ˈkɒnfərəns; -frəns/
a meeting for consultation, exchange of information, or discussion, esp one with a formal agenda
a formal meeting of two or more states, political groups, etc, esp to discuss differences or formulate common policy
an assembly of the clergy or of clergy and laity of any of certain Protestant Christian Churches acting as representatives of their denomination: the Methodist conference
(sport) a league or division of clubs or teams
(rare) an act of bestowal
Derived Forms
conferential (ˌkɒnfəˈrɛnʃəl) adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin conferentia, from Latin conferre to bring together; see confer
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for conference

1550s, "act of conferring," from Middle French conférence (15c.), from Medieval Latin conferentia, from Latin conferens, present participle of conferre (see confer). Meaning "formal meeting for consultation" is from 1580s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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