Definition of conversation noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//ˌkɒnvəˈseɪʃn//
; NAmE NAmE//ˌkɑːnvərˈseɪʃn//
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[countable, uncountable] conversation (with somebody) (about something) an informal talk involving a small group of people or only two; the activity of talking in this way a telephone conversation I had a long conversation with her the other day. The main topic of conversation was the likely outcome of the election. Don was deep in conversation with the girl on his right. (British English) to get into conversation with somebody (North American English) to get into a conversation with somebody The conversation turned to gardening. I tried to make conversation (= to speak in order to appear polite). Desperately he struggled to keep the conversation going. I see no point in continuing this conversation. She tried to steer the conversation away from the topic of marriage. He felt a sudden alarm at the turn the conversation was taking. Synonymsdiscussionconversation dialogue talk debate consultation chat gossipThese are all words for an occasion when people talk about something.discussion a detailed conversation about something that is considered to be important:Discussions are still taking place between the two leaders.conversation a talk, usually a private or informal one, involving two people or a small group; the activity of talking in this way:a telephone conversationdialogue conversations in a book, play or film:The novel has long descriptions and not much dialogue. A dialogue is also a formal discussion between two groups, especially when they are trying to solve a problem or end a dispute:The President told waiting reporters there had been a constructive dialogue.talk a conversation or discussion, often one about a problem or something important for the people involved:I had a long talk with my boss about my career prospects.debate a formal discussion of an issue at a public meeting or in a parliament. In a debate two or more speakers express opposing views and then there is often a vote on the issue:a debate on prison reformconsultation a formal discussion between groups of people before a decision is made about something:There have been extensive consultations between the two countries.chat a friendly informal conversation; informal talking. The countable use of chat is especially British English:I just called in for a chat about the kids.gossip a conversation about other people and their private lives:We had a good gossip about the boss.Patterns a discussion/​conversation/​dialogue/​talk/​debate/​consultation/​chat/​gossip about something a discussion/​conversation/​dialogue/​debate/​consultation on something in (close) discussion/​conversation/​dialogue/​debate/​consultation with somebody to have a discussion/​conversation/​dialogue/​talk/​debate/​consultation/​chat/​gossip with somebody to hold a discussion/​conversation/​debate/​consultation Express YourselfConversation openersWhat can you say when you have to speak to someone for the first time or when you have to open a meeting? Here are some possible ways of starting a conversation or getting the audience's attention before a talk or speech: Do you mind if I sit here? Hello, is this seat taken? May I join you? Can I get you a coffee? Lovely weather we’re having!/Can you believe this rain/​wind/​cold/​sunshine? Excuse me, could I ask you a question? Shall we make a start? I think it's almost three o'clock. (British English) Shall we get started? I'd like to introduce our speaker.(especially North American English) I think everyone's here, so I'd like to welcome you to this conference. Word OriginMiddle English (in the sense ‘living among, familiarity, intimacy’): via Old French from Latin conversatio(n-), from the verb conversari ‘keep company (with)’, from con- ‘with’ + versare, frequentative of vertere ‘to turn’.Extra examples A chance conversation led to a brilliant new career for the young student. All conversation ceased and everyone turned around. All too soon the stilted conversation ran dry. Cara kept up a one-sided conversation. Don was in close conversation with the girl on his right. During the course of conversation, it emerged that Sheila had lived in Nigeria. He said that television had been the death of good conversation. He tried to steer the conversation away from the topic of money. He was waiting for her to open the conversation. I got into a conversation with Chris about UFOs. I got into conversation with one of the directors. I had an interesting conversation with Dick Wortley. I managed to bring the conversation around to why they were leaving. I overheard snatches of a conversation between two doctors. I recall a conversation in which he told me he would never leave Paris. I tried to make conversation with the three people around the table. I was courteous but didn’t encourage conversation. I was keen to strike up a conversation with him. In the Western world it is polite to maintain eye contact during conversation. In the programme tonight we hear Dr Chris Toole in conversation with the artist Mary Witherspoon. It’s not a subject that often crops up in casual conversation. Our hostess did her best to keep the conversation going. Police taped the conversation. She avoided conversation with the other passengers. She could hear him over the buzz of conversation and laughter. She ignored all my attempts at conversation. She turned the conversation to her work. The book became an instant best-seller and topic of water-cooler conversation. The conversation drifted away from babies. The conversation drifted into family chat. The conversation ended when the vacuum cleaner started up. The conversation moved on to other things. The conversation proceeded in French. The conversation turned to holidays in France. The main topic of conversation was the big football match. The two of you need to have a face-to-face conversation. There is an ongoing conversation in society about how we raise our children. There was no time for a proper conversation. They all relaxed and conversation flowed freely. They were deep in conversation and didn’t notice the time. Think of prayer as a two-way conversation. We carried on a rather awkward conversation. We engaged in a long conversation. We had a long conversation about old cars. We had to listen to endless conversations about high prices and food shortages. We sat making polite conversation and feeling rather uncomfortable. When I tried to engage him in conversation, she always interrupted. When did this conversation take place? When you are struggling with an unfamiliar language, the simplest conversations can be misinterpreted. You can’t hold a private conversation there. Young children become quickly bored by adult conversation. a conversation between Jane and her parents a conversation on the topic of activities for children a plain girl who had no conversation and no social graces listening to endless conversations about high prices and food shortages He struggled to keep the conversation going. I got into a conversation with a man on the bus. I tried to make polite conversation.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: conversation