Definition of conversation in English:



  • A talk, especially an informal one, between two or more people, in which news and ideas are exchanged.

    ‘she picked up the phone and held a conversation in French’
    [mass noun] ‘the two men were deep in conversation’
    • ‘I am simply not used to being required to carry out conversation at all hours of the day.’
    • ‘Marriage came up in conversation as I asked him if he would consider getting married.’
    • ‘We tried to talk to him a few times, but he was not interested in conversation.’
    • ‘The tables are placed very close together so intimate conversation is difficult.’
    • ‘I was talking to a Canadian guy last week and one of the topics of conversation was language.’
    • ‘The dining room was carpeted, and there was a quiet buzz of conversation from the other guests.’
    • ‘The music plays at a perfect level, audible but not too loud as to drown out conversation.’
    • ‘The smoking ban has even fashioned the return of courtship through conversation.’
    • ‘For some minutes there had been efforts to end the conversation coming from the wings.’
    • ‘It's been a good weekend, both of us catching up on sleep and rest and conversation.’
    • ‘In conversation we discuss the power of music to get us through those dark nights of the soul.’
    • ‘After a minute of conversation she tires of haggling over a price and refuses his advances.’
    • ‘After a long leisurely lunch and engaging conversation we made our excuses and departed.’
    • ‘Far from providing a little less conversation, the theft has become a talking piece in the pub.’
    • ‘In many ways, this being on the same wavelength makes for easy and fluent conversation.’
    • ‘Aim to terminate the conversation before anything of any substance is discussed.’
    • ‘Face to face conversation, talking in the street, does seem to me to be declining.’
    • ‘Whether or not it's going to snow tomorrow is the only topic of conversation today.’
    • ‘These features can be regarded as tools that can be applied to sequences of conversation.’
    • ‘The grown-ups go quiet, look at me briefly, and then return to their grown up conversation.’
    discussion, talk, chat, gossip, tête-à-tête, heart-to-heart, head-to-head, exchange, dialogue, parley, consultation, conference
    confab, jaw, powwow, chit-chat, rap, gas
    chinwag, natter, rabbit
    bull session, skull session, gabfest, schmooze
    palaver, colloquy, converse
    View synonyms


  • make conversation

    • Talk for the sake of politeness without having anything to say.

      ‘we sat together, trying somewhat stiltedly to make conversation’
      • ‘They usually get a surprised look on their face - they're just making conversation - and then I have to explain.’
      • ‘He didn't say anything, even when Jessica tried to make conversation.’
      • ‘Volunteers for this scheme need to be caring, reliable and good at making conversation.’
      • ‘Trying to create when you don't feel like it is like making conversation for the sake of making conversation.’
      • ‘‘Look at this mess,’ I say, making conversation, forgiving her intrusion.’
      • ‘As I wait at the breakfast table, I attempt to make conversation with an elderly couple, but they don't speak English.’
      • ‘I guess you could say they were just making conversation, but I have a low tolerance of people who talk in the sauna and this exchange further confirmed my prejudice.’
      • ‘She politely started to make conversation and the trio were laughing within minutes.’
      • ‘That helps anyway, because the loud music prevents you from making conversation unless you keep moving your chair forward.’
      • ‘We ate at the main table in the hotel with the regular guests which involved learning western table manners and making conversation in English with those guests who would ask us a kind question or two.’


Middle English (in the sense ‘living among, familiarity, intimacy’): via Old French from Latin conversatio(n-), from the verb conversari (see converse).