[ kuhn-vek-shuhn ]
See synonyms for convection on
  1. Physics. the transfer of heat by the circulation or movement of the heated parts of a liquid or gas.

  2. Meteorology. the vertical transport of atmospheric properties, especially upward (distinguished from advection).

  1. the act of conveying or transmitting.

Origin of convection

First recorded in 1615–25; from Late Latin convectiōn-, stem of convectiō “a bringing together”; equivalent to convect + -ion

Other words from convection

  • con·vec·tion·al, adjective

Words Nearby convection Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use convection in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for convection


/ (kənˈvɛkʃən) /

  1. a process of heat transfer through a gas or liquid by bulk motion of hotter material into a cooler region: Compare conduction (def. 1)

  2. meteorol the process by which masses of relatively warm air are raised into the atmosphere, often cooling and forming clouds, with compensatory downward movements of cooler air

  1. geology the slow circulation of subcrustal material, thought to be the mechanism by which tectonic plates are moved

Origin of convection

C19: from Late Latin convectiō a bringing together, from Latin convehere to bring together, gather, from vehere to bear, carry

Derived forms of convection

  • convectional, adjective
  • convective, adjective

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

Scientific definitions for convection


[ kən-vĕkshən ]

  1. Current in a fluid caused by uneven distribution of heat. For example, air on a part of the Earth's surface warmed by strong sunlight will be heated by contact with the ground and will expand and flow upward, creating a region of low pressure below it; cooler surrounding air will then flow in to this low pressure region. The air thus circulates by convection, creating winds. See Note at conduction.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for convection


The motion of warm material that rises, cools off, and sinks again, producing a continuous circulation of material and transfer of heat. Some examples of processes involving convection are boiling water, in which heat is transferred from the stove to the air; the circulation of the atmosphere of the Earth, transferring heat from the equator to the North Pole and South Pole; and plate tectonics, in which heat is transferred from the interior of the Earth to its surface.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.