conversation


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conversation piece

Something unusual or interesting that becomes or is intended to become the topic of conversation when it is encountered by other people. Did you see Helen's new chair that's shaped like a giant red stiletto shoe? Yes, it's quite the conversation piece! Jane's new hairstyle became a conversation piece in the office because people couldn't believe she would cut her hair so short.
See also: conversation, piece

open a conversation

to start a conversation. (See also strike up a conversation.) I tried to open a conversation with him, but he had nothing to say. She opened a conversation with an inquiry into my health, which got me talking about my favorite subject.
See also: conversation, open

strike up a conversation

to start a conversation (with someone). I struck up an interesting conversation with someone on the bus yesterday. It's easy to strike up a conversation with someone when you're traveling.
See also: conversation, strike, up

a conversation piece

a strange or interesting object that people talk about Charlotte's collection of Victorian cards were a good conversation piece.
See also: conversation, piece

conversation piece

An unusual object that arouses comment or interest, as in That bust of Aunt Nettie is ugly but it's an excellent conversation piece. In the early 1700s this same term was used for a particular kind of painting that represented a group, often a family, arranged as though they were conversing with one another. Later in the century the term was extended to any object that stimulates conversation.
See also: conversation, piece

make conversation

Engage someone in talking purely for its own sake, make small talk, as in She had a real talent for making conversation with strangers. [c. 1920]
See also: conversation, make
References in classic literature ?
The lull in the conversation following the moving of their position gave him an opportunity to make his excuses.
I have only to stand under the ventilator, and every word of the conversation between Sir James and the physician reaches my ears.
excuse for my long absence, and take my part in the conversation, keeping the strictest guard on every word that escapes me, without betraying any appearance of restraint in my manner.
Now that I have no occupation to keep my energies employed, now that my first sense of triumph in the discomfiture of the friends who have plotted against me has had time to subside, my mind reverts to the conversation that I have overheard, and considers it from a new point of view.
The second witness, present at the conversation already mentioned, corroborated the first witness in every particular; and added that she had procured the book relating to the arsenic-eating practices of the Styrian peasantry, and their results, at Mrs.
She had begged both the ladies to consider the conversation as strictly private--and there it had ended.
There was a certain tang and savor in the conversation when Leslie was present which they missed when she was absent.
While the conversation turned on this subject, and was only for a moment interrupted by the arrival of a journal that contained nothing worth reading, we will just step out into the antechamber, where cloaks, mackintoshes, sticks, umbrellas, and shoes, were deposited.
The soul environs itself with friends that it may enter into a grander self-acquaintance or solitude; and it goes alone for a season, that it may exalt its conversation or society.
Almost every man we meet requires some civility,--requires to be humored; he has some fame, some talent, some whim of religion or philanthropy in his head that is not to be questioned, and which spoils all conversation with him.
He was no sooner gone than the great personages, who had taken no notice of him present, began to take much notice of him in his absence; but if the reader hath already excused us from relating the more brilliant part of this conversation, he will surely be very ready to excuse the repetition of what may be called vulgar abuse; though, perhaps, it may be material to our history to mention an observation of Lady Bellaston, who took her leave in a few minutes after him, and then said to Mrs Fitzpatrick, at her departure, "I am satisfied on the account of my cousin; she can be in no danger from this fellow.
Now his whole soul was full of remorse that he had begun this conversation with Stepan Arkadyevitch.
he called, and he went into the next room where he promptly came across and aide-de-camp of his acquaintance and dropped into conversation with him about an actress and her protector.
He sat up much longer, conversing with his father, and by the frequent repetition of her name I conjectured that their lovely guest was the subject of their conversation.
Every conversation of the cottagers now opened new wonders to me.