[kuh n-vek-shuh n]


Physics. the transfer of heat by the circulation or movement of the heated parts of a liquid or gas.
Meteorology. the vertical transport of atmospheric properties, especially upward (distinguished from advection).
the act of conveying or transmitting.

Origin of convection

1615–25; < Late Latin convectiōn- (stem of convectiō) a bringing together. See convect, -ion
Related formscon·vec·tion·al, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for convection

Historical Examples of convection

  • "Yes, it makes its own ventilation; convection," Jacquemont said.

    The Cosmic Computer

    Henry Beam Piper

  • The Convection declared these assemblies to be illegal, and ordered their dissolution.

    The Empress Josephine

    Louise Muhlbach

  • Thus, heat may be transmitted either by conduction, convection, or radiation.


    James Slough Zerbe

  • Convection applies to the transmission of heat through liquids and gases.


    James Slough Zerbe

  • This was placed in the room and provided heat by conduction, convection, and radiation.


    Willis Eugene Tower

British Dictionary definitions for convection



a process of heat transfer through a gas or liquid by bulk motion of hotter material into a cooler regionCompare conduction (def. 1)
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
geology the slow circulation of subcrustal material, thought to be the mechanism by which tectonic plates are moved
Derived Formsconvectional, adjectiveconvective, adjective

Word Origin for convection

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

Word Origin and History for convection

1620s, from Latin convectionem (nominative convectio) "the act of carrying," noun of action from past participle stem of convehere "to carry together," from com- "together" (see com-) + vehere "to carry" (see vehicle). Related: Convective. Convection current recorded from 1868.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

convection in Medicine




Heat transfer in a gas or liquid by the circulation of currents from one region to another.
Fluid motion caused by an external force such as gravity.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

convection in Science



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.

convection in Culture


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.