Definition of convention in English:



  • 1A way in which something is usually done.

    ‘to attract the best patrons the movie houses had to ape the conventions and the standards of theatres’
    • ‘Besides its unusual composition, this portrait defies many other photographic conventions - the most remarkable of which is the woman's profile pose.’
    • ‘We must know the techniques and conventions and standards.’
    • ‘It overturns conventions and is taking on the global market leaders in a big way.’
    • ‘This is not a precondition but rather a logical position, in keeping with the rules and conventions of international diplomacy.’
    • ‘To me, a genre is a well-defined set of formal, narrative conventions - a work that ‘transcends genre’ manages to use those conventions in an unconventional way.’
    • ‘His is an odd, disjointed book, but is also an amusing screed aimed at the Times itself, its greatest stars, and many of the conventions and hypocrisies of journalism.’
    • ‘The use of naming conventions is a programming technique which has many users, but also many detractors.’
    • ‘The first priority of those papers, it appears, is to apply the conventions of journalism and record history, thereby creating an account readers may trust.’
    • ‘It is the last sport or activity where decisions and conventions are left to the good judgment of its practitioners.’
    • ‘This person will be expected to learn the software development lifecycle practices, methods, conventions, and standards of the computer industry.’
    • ‘On the one hand, it can assist firms directly through the promotion of shared conventions and practices.’
    • ‘Complicating this whole exchange are incompatible data standards and business conventions.’
    • ‘Never mind that most of the conventions of modern personal computing got their starts on the Mac and migrated later to the IBM platform.’
    • ‘The numbers reported in this publication generally reflect the convention practised by the industry.’
    • ‘I think a lot of market conventions and property rights come from norms that emerge through people's interactions.’
    • ‘Already in his mid forties by this time, his editorial and advertising photography broke with conventions of fashion imagery in radical ways.’
    • ‘The rules and conventions which govern news, for example, are quite different from those governing drama.’
    • ‘Mr Swinson formulated what he described as the accounting conventions as to the recording of receipts.’
    • ‘The concept of fair competition then, is a global convention which both the multinational players and localised business entities are aware of and need to adhere to.’
    • ‘He then traced the gradual erosion of the conventions that had supported religious practice in Ireland.’
    custom, practice, habit, tradition, routine, rule, rite, ritual, observance, ordinance, ceremony, ceremonial
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    1. 1.1mass noun Behaviour that is considered acceptable or polite to most members of a society.
      ‘he was an upholder of convention and correct form’
      count noun ‘the law is felt to express social conventions’
      • ‘The column was both insightful in its full view of an issue, and brave in going against social convention.’
      • ‘They celebrated a man who was scornful of polite convention and showed little interest in being embraced by the great and good.’
      • ‘Travellers have every right to pursue an unconventional lifestyle, but they must follow one universal convention: that their behaviour does not impinge on the welfare of their neighbours.’
      • ‘Again and again he defied social convention, often by showing concern for the very people who were normally despised or marginalized by respectable society.’
      • ‘These latter qualities are often smothered by social convention and cultural prejudice which converge to constrain us from realising our full potential.’
      • ‘I can go on and on about our numerous sins, the way we flout laws or conventions or acceptable behaviour without even thinking about it.’
      • ‘The message is usually loud and clear, but it is also carefully disguised under a layer of polite convention.’
      • ‘It is easy to argue that abuse should be safeguarded against - but no constitution would operate for long unless there were a considerable element of publicly accepted convention.’
      • ‘She loves his madness and his badness; she loves the way he made her feel that the two of them were united against everyone else, against all the things that convention and society demanded of them.’
      • ‘Is it purely social convention, or is it biological?’
      • ‘But, and there is the rub, every member of the Cabinet is expected by acceptable social convention to then go out and promote and defend what has been pronounced.’
      • ‘There are many places where photography is prohibited by law, many other places where it is prohibited by social convention and human decency.’
      • ‘She raised her lips and eyebrows in a coy pout that I couldn't resist, so I broke all known social convention and filled her martini glass with scotch.’
      • ‘Yet their standard of living derives, not from their caring work, but from the social convention that family members share family resources on a more or less equal basis.’
      • ‘Here those favoring the wealthy are following social convention and may even see themselves securing the benefaction of the patron for the church.’
      • ‘He had a streak of fundamental decency that went far beyond simply observing the convention of the day and I loved him for it.’
      • ‘Most people err on the side of social convention, clapping politely as the drums pick up where the guitar left them, waiting for the drums to end to clap again while the stand-up bass does its thing.’
      • ‘Dance and body culture converged on the pursuit of ecstasy, joyful release from the constraints of modern society and bourgeois convention.’
      • ‘If we are not restrained by conventions, traditions or rules we are all capable of grotesque cruelties.’
      • ‘When there is separation from the familiar, when there is escape from the habitual, rules of social convention are not enforceable with the same efficacy as at home.’
      custom, usage, practice, tradition, way, habit, norm
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  • 2An agreement between states covering particular matters, especially one less formal than a treaty.

    ‘the convention, signed by the six states bordering on the Black Sea, aims to prevent further pollution’
    • ‘In 1997 a convention established standards to combat international bribery, to which more than thirty countries agreed.’
    • ‘But it is tied into international agreements, conventions, and understandings.’
    • ‘Even those Third World countries that grow tobacco signed the convention on tobacco control.’
    • ‘Over the centuries, however, various laws, treaties, conventions, and protocols have attempted to shield them from harm.’
    • ‘Copyright is subject to international conventions, but in matters of detail it varies between countries.’
    • ‘You have been signing treaties, conventions and protocols for children but have never honoured them with genuine intention and political will.’
    • ‘International conventions and the rule of law must be observed.’
    • ‘International conventions and treaties represent the greatest compromises of all.’
    • ‘Is that measure in this bill consistent with the convention that the Government signed on 16 June?’
    • ‘This is an internationally recognised human right, enshrined in a number of human rights treaties and conventions that Australia has pledged to uphold.’
    • ‘As a trade Minister involved in all sorts of issues to do with conventions overseas and signing treaties, he has a better understanding than most.’
    • ‘Moreover, in order to achieve agreement in time for either of these conventions to be signed at Rio, it had proved necessary for many contentious or complex issues to be sidestepped or fudged.’
    • ‘The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the most widely accepted international convention in human history.’
    • ‘But this is exactly what most international human rights treaties and conventions, and national laws do.’
    • ‘Because most countries are signatories to international copyright treaties and conventions, most works authored by U.S. citizens are protected abroad.’
    • ‘It can but it won't, mainly because it is against the international commercial conventions.’
    • ‘But as a country, we signed up to international treaties and conventions that we would treat refugees fairly.’
    • ‘And it would be a setback for efforts just getting underway in the United Nations to draft a global convention banning reproductive cloning.’
    • ‘He said the crisis had brought to the fore the need to stop the proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons though strict adherence to international treaties and conventions.’
    • ‘Membership in these bodies imposes in the British Government a requirement to observe international law and conventions.’
    agreement, accord, protocol, compact, pact
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  • 3A large meeting or conference, especially of members of a political party or a particular profession or group.

    ‘the party held its biennial convention’
    • ‘The workshops are meant to help members of the convention to manage their natural resources, especially nations in regions like Africa where there is still an abundance of such resources.’
    • ‘It was an era when politics had passion and party political conventions could be dramatic, world - changing events rather than media-manipulated yawns.’
    • ‘Be aware of ballet recitals, church conferences, conventions and club meetings.’
    • ‘National political conventions are historic events that promise to generate economic and tourism benefits to their host communities.’
    • ‘The job may have felt dirty, but it taught him that if he wanted to be a successful artist, he'd have to learn how to navigate comic-book conventions as a businessman.’
    • ‘A number of important meetings and conventions are taking place in the coming weeks.’
    • ‘I remind members of the convention that members should not conduct conversations in the House unless it is necessary, and then only in a way so as not to disturb the proceedings.’
    • ‘A participant in the drawing up of the constitution as a member of the constitutional convention, he now let loose a barrage of abuse against its opponents.’
    • ‘Amongst other roles, which have always been people orientated, she has also worked in public relations organizing conferences and conventions.’
    • ‘A lack of substance in party conferences and conventions means that they merely serve to bring rhythm to the political year.’
    • ‘Transit passes are available to visitors attending meetings, conferences, and conventions.’
    • ‘Promoters and managers attend these conventions in the hope of pleasing the right people to get the right ratings to get the right fights.’
    • ‘Union meetings were held at night, and training conferences and conventions occurred on the weekends.’
    • ‘At European political conventions, we have debates.’
    • ‘Friends of the Earth is calling for a global convention on corporate accountability.’
    • ‘It exists within the context of an adult entertainment package that is used to attract tourists, conventions, and business people to Windsor.’
    • ‘Around 6000 fellow airline professionals from around the world attended the convention and award ceremony, the largest event in the industry's calendar.’
    • ‘And I think people would enjoy that week and the activity surrounding the convention.’
    • ‘The department has been effective in marketing the program though the web, at conventions and university activities, and through advertisements on campus.’
    • ‘The killing, actually, starts with the surreal emptiness and manufactured optimism of party conferences and conventions.’
    conference, meeting, congress, assembly, gathering, summit, council of delegates, council of representatives, symposium, forum, convocation, synod, conclave, diet, chapter
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    1. 3.1North American An assembly of the delegates of a political party to select candidates for office.
      • ‘In July and August the Democratic and Republican parties hold their nominating conventions.’
      • ‘The recent Republican and Democratic party conventions were illustrative of big money's presence in the major parties.’
      • ‘His announcement made at the convention to select candidates for that ballot brings the curtain down on a political career stretching back to the sixties.’
      • ‘If the primaries are killed in these states, the parties will use caucuses or state conventions to decide which candidate's delegates will go to the national convention.’
      • ‘In fact the firm management of the Republican convention had journalists breathless for lack of stories not fed to them by the machine.’
      • ‘The first national party conventions, in fact, were held in Baltimore in preparation for the 1832 election.’
      • ‘Huge as this number is, it is likely to rise even higher during the national party conventions and as election day nears.’
      • ‘And it's important to know that it came from a democratic candidate for governor, a Democratic delegate to the convention.’
      • ‘Delegates are selected to the political party nominating conventions through a series of primaries and caucuses held in the winter and early spring of the election year.’
      • ‘It is not a party political convention or conference.’
      • ‘For decades, reporters have both praised and skewered candidates during political conventions.’
      • ‘While states have different methods of choosing their delegates, most come up with their final list of delegates following state conventions in May and June.’
      • ‘Party conferences, like American party conventions, have increasingly become stage-managed for the televised projection of the positive party image and strong leadership.’
      • ‘Constituency organisation will next month embark on a series of conventions to select candidates for the local elections - some time behind its competitors.’
      • ‘Congressional nominees are selected in party conventions, unless no candidate gets more than 60 percent of the vote there.’
      • ‘Utah nominates candidates for federal office at a state convention of approximately 1,500 delegates per congressional district.’
      • ‘With the emergence of organized political parties, the holding of a national party convention to select presidential candidates developed.’
      • ‘The prize for both the Democratic and Republican candidates are some 60 percent of their conventions ' delegates.’
      • ‘Under party rules, delegates are bound to vote at the convention for the candidate under whose banner they were elected in the primaries - but only on the first ballot.’
      • ‘A national party convention of all these delegates then takes place in the summer to decide (in reality rubber stamp) the presidential candidate.’
    2. 3.2 A body set up by agreement to deal with a particular issue.
      ‘the convention is a UN body responsible for the regulation of sea dumping’
      • ‘The convention received a good deal of coverage at the time, but no lasting impact has been felt.’
      • ‘This convention dealt with issues of sustainable fishery catches and conservation of both aquatic species and habitats.’
      • ‘The main issue at the convention was ‘Americans' role in the world.’’
      • ‘The convention was forced to deal with several critical issues within the black community.’
      • ‘He moved to reassure the convention that the government was working to solve crises in Africa that ultimately impacted on confidence in the local economy.’
      • ‘A week later, the issue again overtook the convention.’
    3. 3.3historical A meeting of Parliament without a summons from the sovereign.
      • ‘The Commons request William to take over the administration of the government and to summon a convention.’
      • ‘These Conventions that later declared themselves to be Parliaments are therefore generally known by historians as 'Convention Parliaments'.’
      • ‘After James's convenient flight to France, only a minority in the convention parliament so much as expressed scruples about the form in which the transfer of kingship was to take place.’
  • 4Bridge
    A bid or system of bidding by which the bidder tries to convey specific information about the hand to their partner, as opposed to seeking to win the auction.

    • ‘B.J. Herbison's Playing Pinochle page describes a variation of Single Deck Pinochle, and a detailed set of suggested bidding conventions.’
    • ‘Create an online convention card, or many!’
    • ‘With only 15 words allowed during an auction and just 13 cards in each suit, bridge players have invented dozens of special bids, called conventions, to describe their strength and hand patterns.’


Late Middle English (in convention (sense 3)): via Old French from Latin conventio(n-) ‘meeting, covenant’, from the verb convenire (see convene). convention (sense 1) dates from the late 18th century.