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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

make conversation

To chat to someone simply for the sake of talking. I hate having to make conversation with the adults my parents invite for their dinner parties. A: "It's none of your business what I do for work!" B: "Jeez, I was just trying to make conversation, no need to be so sensitive!"
See also: conversation, make

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 ?
All this science-y stuff is presented conversationally and leavened with lots of personal stories and humor.
Once you can use it conversationally, it will be easy to use in an interesting way during an appointment.
These findings suggest that the happy life is social and conversationally deep, rather than solitary and superficial.
Once you've broken the ice with either of those responses, it's a pretty safe bet that conversationally you will be able to keep things moving as long as necessary.
These findings suggest that the happy life is social and conversationally deep rather than solitary and superficial," the Daily Express quoted study co-author Matthias Mehl, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Arizona, as saying.
Rare indeed are novels with such unstilted, conversationally real dialogue, and authentic patois as this one.
It's written very conversationally and we have different fonts so you can tell who has written each bit.
Since moving to the States, his English has improved but not to the point where he can speak conversationally.
Legendary applies to Zeus, not Echo and the Bunnymen, or, indeed, my sons' friends, who are also often conversationally elevated into this Olympian category.
He treats the deepest issues conversationally and accessibly, recounting his efforts to persuade the physics community to appreciate the crisis that Stephen Hawking's work on black holes had created.
Huang takes up the issue of pragmatic 'intrusion' into what is said--an issue related to what is variously called 'Grice's Circle' ('Paradox'): 'How what is conversationally implicated can be defined in contrast to and calculated on the basis of what is said, given that what is said seems to both determine and be determined by what is conversationally implicated' (203).
While there's nothing like direct customer-agent interaction, there are still opportunities to harness externally-generated customer information to recreate some of vital knowledge that ordinarily is gleaned conversationally in active relationships.
Writing Tools" has 50 essays, each presenting a slice of advice conversationally and agreeably, with numerous examples.
Electronic information tends to be treated casually: Statements intended to be taken conversationally may be taken literally.