From Middle English conveien, from Old French conveier (French convoyer), from Vulgar Latin *convio, from Classical Latin via (way). Compare convoy.


  • IPA(key): /kənˈveɪ/
  • Audio (US):(file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪ



convey (third-person singular simple present conveys, present participle conveying, simple past and past participle conveyed)

  1. To move (something) from one place to another.
    Air conveys sound. Water is conveyed through the pipe.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], →OCLC, 1 Kings 5:8-9:
      [] I will do all thy desire concerning timber of cedar, and concerning timber of fir. My servants shall bring them down from Lebanon unto the sea: and I will convey them by sea in floats unto the place that thou shalt appoint me, and will cause them to be discharged there []
    • 1858, Henry Gray, Female Organs of Generation[1], London: John W. Parker & Son, page 688:
      The Fallopian Tubes, or oviducts, convey the ova from the ovaries to the cavity of the uterus.
    • 1960 June, “British cars go by rail: I-The L.M.R wins new Anglo-Scottish traffic”, in Trains Illustrated, page 335:
      The normal methods of road delivery are by driving the cars individually, or by car transporters which convey as many as eight vehicles on massive articulated double-deck trailers.
  2. (dated) To take or carry (someone) from one place to another.
    • 1595 December 9 (first known performance), William Shakespeare, “The life and death of King Richard the Second”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act II, scene 1]:
      Convey me to my bed, then to my grave:
      Love they to live that love and honour have.
    • 1717, Samuel Croxall, transl., Ovid’s Metamorphoses in Fifteen Books, Translated by the Most Eminent Hands[2], London: Jacob Tonson, Book the Sixth, p. 200:
      [] the false Tyrant seiz’d the Princely Maid,
      And to a Lodge in distant Woods convey’d;
    • 1817 (date written), [Jane Austen], Persuasion; published in Northanger Abbey: And Persuasion. [], volumes (please specify |volume=III or IV), London: John Murray, [], 20 December 1817 (indicated as 1818), →OCLC:
      It began to rain, not much, but enough to make shelter desirable for women, and quite enough to make it very desirable for Miss Elliot to have the advantage of being conveyed home in Lady Dalrymple’s carriage, which was seen waiting at a little distance []
  3. To communicate; to make known; to portray.
    to convey an impression; to convey information
    • 1689 (indicated as 1690), [John Locke], chapter 9, in An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding. [], London: [] Eliz[abeth] Holt, for Thomas Basset, [], →OCLC, book III, page 232:
      To make Words serviceable to the end of Communication is necessary [] that they excite, in the Hearer, exactly the same Idea they stand for, in the Mind of the Speaker: Without this, Men fill one another’s Heads with noise and sounds; but convey not thereby their Thoughts, and lay not before one another their Ideas, which is the end of Discourse and Language.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, chapter 6, in The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, volumes (please specify |volume=I to VI), London: A[ndrew] Millar, [], →OCLC, book 7, page 27:
      This excellent Method of conveying a Falshood with the Heart only, without making the Tongue guilty of an Untruth, by the Means of Equivocation and Imposture, hath quieted the Conscience of many a notable Deceiver []
    • 1895 May 7, H[erbert] G[eorge] Wells, chapter 3, in The Time Machine: An Invention, New York, N.Y.: Henry Holt and Company, →OCLC:
      I am afraid I cannot convey the peculiar sensations of time travelling.
    • 1927 May, Virginia Woolf, chapter 1, in To the Lighthouse (Uniform Edition of the Works of Virginia Woolf), new edition, London: Leonard and Virginia Woolf at the Hogarth Press, [], published 1930, →OCLC:
      To her son these words conveyed an extraordinary joy, as if it were settled, the expedition were bound to take place, and the wonder to which he had looked forward, for years and years it seemed, was, after a night’s darkness and a day’s sail, within touch.
  4. (law) To transfer legal rights (to).
    He conveyed ownership of the company to his daughter.
    • 1596 (date written; published 1633), Edmund Spenser, A Vewe of the Present State of Irelande [], Dublin: [] Societie of Stationers, [], →OCLC; republished as A View of the State of Ireland [] (Ancient Irish Histories), Dublin: [] Society of Stationers, [] Hibernia Press, [] [b]y John Morrison, 1809, →OCLC:
      [] before his breaking forth into open rebellion, [the Earle of Desmond] had conveyed secretly all his lands to feoffees of trust, in hope to have cut off her Maiestie from the escheate of his lands.
  5. (obsolete) To manage with privacy; to carry out.
    • 1557, uncredited translator, A Mery Dialogue by Erasmus, London: Antony Kytson,[3]
      I shall so conuey my matters, that he shall dysclose all together hym selfe, what busynesse is betwene you []
    • c. 1603–1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of King Lear”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene ii]:
      I will seek him, sir, presently; convey the business as I shall find means, and acquaint you withal.
  6. (obsolete) To carry or take away secretly; to steal; to thieve.
    • 1592, Robert Greene, A Disputation betweene a Hee Conny-Catcher and a Shee Conny-Catcher, London: T. Gubbin:
      Suppose you are good at the lift, who be more cunning then we women, in that we are more trusted, for they little suspect vs, and we haue as close conueyance as you men, though you haue Cloakes, we haue skirts of gownes, handbaskets, the crownes of our hattes, our plackardes, and for a need, false bagges vnder our smockes, wherein we can conuey more closely then you.



Derived terms