Definition of conference in English:



  • 1A formal meeting for discussion.

    ‘he gathered all the men around the table for a conference’
    • ‘The Fire Brigades Union discussed at its annual conference yesterday whether to hold a ballot which could lead to walkouts within a month.’
    • ‘Interesting technological takes on context-awareness and privacy discussed at the conference?’
    • ‘In Italy, Spain, and the Middle East, conferences, discussions, and conversations do not always end at a specified time.’
    • ‘We were in groups for the conference and had to discuss and comment on various things.’
    • ‘When we bump into each other at meetings or conferences we share a momentary nostalgia because we bumped into each other in activist circles back then.’
    • ‘But since I'm sure they have these discussions during conferences, it's a vain hope.’
    • ‘The conference will include a discussion on the new techniques in sign and oral methods of teaching and learning process.’
    • ‘What sorts of papers does this group discuss at their conferences?’
    • ‘He contributed to the education of many of the present day mathematicians in Turkey, not only by his lectures but also through illuminating discussions in conferences and seminars.’
    • ‘The seven-day fest will be enhanced by seminars, discussions and conferences.’
    • ‘And in a few years, they'll be utterly mundane, and it will seem ludicrous that anyone ever wrote articles about them, held conferences to discuss them.’
    • ‘This time however, he was very much subdued and hardly contributed to the discussions in the conference.’
    • ‘Individuals were selected from each panel to present these topics at the conference for discussion in the working group sessions.’
    • ‘However, in a public online discussion just before the conference, he also described the pitfalls, and how ecotourism development can fail.’
    • ‘Eleven small groups reported key points in their discussions when the conference reassembled in open session.’
    • ‘Notably absent at the conference was any discussion of whether it is appropriate for universities to market themselves as brands.’
    discussion, consultation, exchange of views, debate, talk, conversation, dialogue, chat, tête-à-tête
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    1. 1.1 A formal meeting that typically takes place over a number of days and involves people with a shared interest, especially one held regularly by an association or organization.
      ‘an international conference on the environment’
      ‘the third annual National Wilderness Conference’
      • ‘So there came a time when the commander had to go away for a two-month-long conference to discuss plans for army force reductions.’
      • ‘By night, and on his few days off, he has until recently led another life as head of a union, recruiting new members, running meetings, and representing the group in international conferences.’
      • ‘A three-day conference began here to discuss Indian and Swedish languages and different cultures.’
      • ‘It is capable of handling both national and international conferences, and has many other top class facilities.’
      • ‘Without having their flights and accommodation paid for, freelances would find it hard to attend major international medical conferences and meetings.’
      • ‘And to serve this objective, Egypt has been heavily involved in many regional and international meetings and conferences.’
      • ‘Intended for international conferences, the convention centre will also have a business centre, a media console and an exclusive resource centre.’
      • ‘Some get the opportunity to present papers at conferences and author or share authorship of articles.’
      • ‘As well as an ideas sharing forum the conference is also a hub for marine research and conservation and includes experts who advise zoos and aquariums how to breed endangered species in captivity.’
      • ‘The main issue up for discussion at the weekend conference was council tax.’
      • ‘Last October, the prince invited a group of writers and teachers to a weekend conference to discuss the teaching of English and history in state schools.’
      • ‘This is a major achievement for Listowel and we can now build on our success to attract other national and international conferences to North Kerry.’
      • ‘Experts from across the country will meet in Sheffield tomorrow at a conference to discuss the growing problem of liver disease caused by alcohol abuse.’
      • ‘Representatives from the UK and abroad were at the conference to share good practice in tackling gun crime.’
      • ‘It is one of a number of measures discussed at a conference held in the city bringing together experts in bereavement from across the country.’
      • ‘A large number of people in the nuclear industry have been attending a major conference in Sydney to discuss whether nuclear power is inevitable or irrelevant.’
      • ‘Councillors, health bosses and smoking campaigners are holding a conference in Bolton to discuss new ways of cleaning up the city's air and helping more smokers quit.’
      • ‘Let us go through an international conference to reach a convention in the United Nations.’
      • ‘He found further support for this view in the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and international conferences.’
      • ‘The festival has also set up conferences for musicians interested in song workshops, learning the business side of their field, or even discussing the nuts and bolts of being an independent artist.’
      congress, meeting, convention, seminar, colloquium, symposium, forum, convocation, summit, synod, conclave, consultation, awayday
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    2. 1.2usually as modifier A linking of several telephones or computers, so that each user may communicate with the others simultaneously.
      ‘a conference call’
      • ‘It shouldn't be news at all that plenty of people don't pay attention to the conference at hand when they dial in to a conference call.’
      • ‘Poor Robyn, who was dialing everybody into the conference call at that point, had to call me back a number of times.’
      • ‘Network executives plan to hold a daily conference call to address any possible programming changes.’
      • ‘But equally, as he himself admitted during the earnings conference call, pros are increasingly choosing portables over desktops.’
      • ‘You can also engage in a conference call with up to five people and exchange instant messages or files.’
      • ‘We schemed and plotted by internet, e-mail and conference call, and now the team has come together for the first time.’
      • ‘The parties may wish to make oral submissions by way of a telephone conference call.’
      • ‘A tape of that conference call was played in court.’
      • ‘Upon release of this decision the parties may arrange to address costs either in person or by telephone conference call, through the trial coordinator in Newmarket.’
      • ‘The spokeswoman said she knew very little more than this but apparently the press office will have a conference call with the techies very soon.’
      • ‘You will also be able to conduct conference calls, receive voice mail, send faxes and check e-mail.’
      • ‘I was told that the interview time could not be changed and I would be telephoned on my mobile phone for a conference call.’
      • ‘Paul insisted that he only found out in the May 2nd telephone conference call.’
      • ‘‘You've got to give up something,’ pressed one analyst at yesterday's conference call.’
      • ‘Can you get a counsellor who would counsel the two of you via email or conference call (and do you have the money to pay for it)?’
      • ‘I unexpectedly ended up having to wait some minutes while Frank attended a conference call.’
      • ‘Nearly all providers offer free call waiting, call display, and conference call services.’
      • ‘It was in fact the goal that set her course of action: she chose to complete the stated goal of the conference call rather than to let people vent emotion.’
      • ‘Other courses will use a telephone conference call for the audio portion of the course.’
      • ‘In a conference call, the company blamed the charge on slow mobile phone sales.’
  • 2An association of sports teams that play each other.

    • ‘This is the best team in the best conference in football, the Big 12.’
    • ‘Having certain teams switch conferences should have been examined more closely.’
    • ‘When you play in a conference, other league teams know your tendencies and schemes and personnel from year to year.’
    • ‘There will be times when teams from those conferences will be forced to play on Fridays anyway.’
    • ‘Each team will contest nine 50-overs matches against the other teams in their conference with all games played in coloured clothing and with a white ball.’
    • ‘They're one of three teams in the conference without a winning record at home, where they are 16-16.’
    • ‘Memphis was 7-3 entering the week, but six of the victories were against teams from lesser conferences.’
    • ‘As it stands now, six teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs - the four division winners and two wild-card entries.’
    • ‘It's not hard to find good teams in the mid-major conferences.’
    • ‘Last year, through the bizarre calculations approved by the major college sports conferences, Miami was denied its chance at the national championship.’
    • ‘For Kansas State, however, the motivation to load up on teams from low-major conferences is different.’
    • ‘It also has shown it can compete with teams from major conferences.’
    • ‘Still, both teams have the misfortune of playing in the divisions with the best teams in their conferences, so both are more likely to be wildcard contenders.’
    • ‘This is where the best team in the best conference in college football plays.’
    • ‘I am tired of the strong stance that they want to take with football without helping the conference in other sports.’
    • ‘There are home school sports conferences and organizations throughout the country.’
    • ‘If you weren't good enough to be one of the top six teams in your conference, you aren't deserving of going to the playoffs.’
    • ‘But it feels disrespectful to the teams outside the power conferences to lump them together and judge them in relation to one another, so I won't continue to do it.’
    • ‘That leaves seven teams scrambling for the conference's four remaining spots in the playoffs, which start April 17.’
    • ‘In the new format, each team will play six division games, four against a division in its own conference, and four against teams in the other conference.’
  • 3The governing body of some Christian churches, especially the Methodist Church.

    • ‘Christian conferences must be more than some sanctimonious form of the United Nations.’
    • ‘There is, I believe, no one more appropriate to address the conference on the liturgical role of children in the Church.’
    • ‘That state Catholic conferences have bases of legitimacy independent of the bishops' moral authority does not mean that moral authority is irrelevant to their work.’
    • ‘Only the local conference can alter a pastor's status under church law.’
    • ‘Among United Methodist conferences, Northern Illinois is contending for the lead in membership decline.’
    • ‘At the moment, few topics polarize local Methodist conferences more than the question of same-sex marriages.’
    • ‘As in the past, the Vatican expressed much satisfaction with the conference and the conciliar style of the Church in the United States.’
    • ‘The bishops made no mention of the US bishops' statement or the opposition to the war by other western episcopal conferences or Catholic church leaders.’
    • ‘More specifically, he notes that women are generally more gay supportive than men and that women are becoming a larger proportion of delegates to Methodist conferences.’
    • ‘State Catholic conferences possess clarity of mission, in part because they are under the direct control of a state's bishops.’
    • ‘I flew from here to Indianapolis to address a conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.’
    • ‘These men co-operated in the camps and conferences of the Evangelical Movement of Wales.’
    • ‘He went on to defend his own actions and his conference's, saying he has upheld church law even when he doesn't like the law.’


[NO OBJECT]usually as noun conferencing
  • Take part in a conference or conference call.

    ‘video conferencing’
    • ‘Encourage peer conferencing about spelling on written work as well as during writing workshops.’
    • ‘I would write a post about our parochialism but I have to go to the airport to pick up my husband, returning from two weeks teaching and conferencing in Europe.’
    • ‘This evolution became particularly clear when fathers began to be regularly discussed as part of infant mental health case conferencing.’
    • ‘For traditional programs, it could mean adding chat room conferencing or online discussion centers for students on internships.’
    • ‘The company is launching voice services immediately and will offer conferencing and messaging shortly.’
    • ‘While many large companies have adopted web conferencing, mid size and small companies have not.’
    • ‘He was also there, conferencing with her and asking her questions rapidly.’
    • ‘With web conferencing the students and teachers will even be able to speak to each other.’
    • ‘A very pleasant place for all those speeches, but in terms of sustainability it must rank with everybody driving round the city in their cars and conferencing on their mobile phones.’
    • ‘Michael continued to work from his office, conferencing with the managers that had automatically taken command of his company when he had fallen ill.’
    • ‘If you are just starting to think about Web conferencing, then this basic book is the one you need.’
    • ‘Because of advances in technology such as Web conferencing, he says, businesses are sending fewer employees to trade shows.’
    • ‘Part of her confession is that she is now ‘agnostic’ about peer conferencing, although she still abides by the faith and uses it.’
    • ‘If the interior of the train was revamped it could be used for the private sector for conferencing or meetings, he said.’
    • ‘The bill they're starting with, in our view, remains probably too weak to try to risk conferencing with what the Senate is going to pass.’
    • ‘In later versions, it will offer voice portals, speech-controlled services, video streaming and conferencing.’
    • ‘There is the usual blue-sky stuff, such as phone conferencing and video calls, which, in my view, are never going to appeal to the baffled masses among us, for two good reasons.’
    • ‘No faculty reported using video or audio conferencing to communicate with students.’
    • ‘Once in Libya it became obvious that there was no peace conferencing going down and invitees were stuck twiddling thumbs on a cold beach next to a military complex for two weeks.’
    • ‘Students were able to divide the work, discuss through web conferencing and meet as needed to coordinate.’


  • in conference

    • In a meeting; engaged in discussions.

      • ‘We'll be in conference - everybody knows what that means.’
      • ‘The amendment could still be removed in conference with the Senate as the two houses work out differences in the legislation.’
      • ‘The health and labor spending bill is currently in conference, where a minimal increase of $25 million to $38 million is under debate.’
      • ‘As the Labour Party faithful, of which I was hitherto a proud member, meet in conference, they have an opportunity to earn the nation's commendation.’
      • ‘You know, the bishops, as you pointed out, met in conference in 2002 and again in 2003, to talk about how to cope with this escalating crisis in the church.’
      • ‘We've seen these kind of games played before in conference, where conferees drop provisions which they should not drop when they're both in the House and the Senate bills.’
      • ‘I've attached it again to a jobs bill, but that's in conference, and I don't know what's going to happen there, but we have had good bipartisan support.’
      • ‘It's been sitting in conference for a long time.’
      • ‘That sweeping legislation has been in conference since July.’
      • ‘It is already in the House bill funding those departments, and Democrats will not let it be stripped out behind closed doors in conference.’


Early 16th century (in the general sense ‘conversation, talk’): from French conférence or medieval Latin conferentia, from Latin conferre ‘bring together’ (see confer).