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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

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 periodicals archive ?
If it's unacceptable for William Bennett to link abortion even conversationally with a whole class of people (and, of course, it is), why then do we as a society view abortion as justified and unremarkable in the case of another class of people: children with disabilities?
The control is via the conversationally programmed Mazatrol Fusion 640M CNC.
The debate process, conversationally, involves the sharing of factual information, determining credibility of that information, and eventually choosing the "strongest" decision available.
There are a lot of examples and hints about arriving at your own interpretation, though, conversationally phrased in the certainty of mutual enjoyment.
If you want to become fluent in another language, Bailey suggests learning the language conversationally.
optimal matching model, sensitive interactions system theory, and theory of conversationally induced reappraisals).
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong has argued that "ought" conversationally implicates "can," partly by giving a counter-example to the view that "ought" entails "can.
When you speak conversationally, project your voice, and find ways to enliven your presentation, you'll find that people naturally want to do business with you.
Second, they are less conversationally supportive; fathers use fewer devices to initiate and maintain conversations.
Scripture is an important, authoritative, and normative voice--a "loud" voice, so to speak--but in congregational context it exerts its power conversationally and not unilaterally.
At least then we'd be inviting parents to participate conversationally in the school experiences of their children, rather than positioning them as just another cop to make sure the kids are in line and marching to the tune of the standardized school dram.
This provides them with little common ground conversationally, but conversation is not really the point.
The noun, innocent then of the pejorative with which in recent years it has been painted, was the only one conversationally acceptable in those, dare I say, simpler times.