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  1. a meeting or formal assembly, as of representatives or delegates, for discussion of and action on particular matters of common concern.
  2. U.S. Politics. a representative party assembly to nominate candidates and adopt platforms and party rules.
  3. an agreement, compact, or contract.
  4. an international agreement, especially one dealing with a specific matter, as postal service or copyright.
  5. a rule, method, or practice established by usage; custom: the convention of showing north at the top of a map.
  6. general agreement or consent; accepted usage, especially as a standard of procedure.
  7. conventionalism.
  8. Bridge. any of a variety of established systems or methods of bidding or playing that allows partners to convey certain information about their hands.

Origin of convention

1375–1425; late Middle English convencio(u)n (< Middle French) < Latin conventiōn- (stem of conventiō) agreement, literally, a coming together. See convene, -tion
Related formsan·ti·con·ven·tion, adjectivecoun·ter·con·ven·tion, nounpost·con·ven·tion, adjectivepre·con·ven·tion, nounpro·con·ven·tion, adjectiveun·con·ven·tion, noun

Synonyms for convention

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Synonym study

1. Convention, assembly, conference, convocation name meetings for particular purposes. Convention usually suggests a meeting of delegates representing political, church, social, or fraternal organizations. Assembly usually implies a meeting for a settled or customary purpose, as for discussion, legislation, or participation in a social function. Conference suggests a meeting for consultation and discussion about business or professional problems. Convocation denotes a (church) assembly, the members of which have been summoned for a special purpose; chapel services at some colleges are called convocations. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for convention


    1. a large formal assembly of a group with common interests, such as a political party or trade union
    2. the persons attending such an assembly
  1. US politics an assembly of delegates of one party to select candidates for office
  2. diplomacy an international agreement second only to a treaty in formalitya telecommunications convention
  3. any agreement, compact, or contract
  4. the most widely accepted or established view of what is thought to be proper behaviour, good taste, etc
  5. an accepted rule, usage, etca convention used by printers
  6. Also called: conventional bridge a bid or play not to be taken at its face value, which one's partner can interpret according to a prearranged bidding system

Word Origin for convention

C15: from Latin conventiō an assembling, agreeing
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 convention

early 15c., "agreement," from Middle French convention and directly from Latin conventionem (nominative conventio) "meeting, assembly, covenant," noun of action from past participle stem of convenire (see convene).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper