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make conversation (third-person singular simple present makes conversation, present participle making conversation, simple past and past participle made conversation)

  1. To talk with someone out of courtesy, to pass time, or in an effort to engage with them socially.
    • 1866, Elizabeth Gaskell, Wives and Daughters, Chapter 3,[1]
      They had their meals with Mr. Gibson and Molly, and were felt to be terribly in the way; Mr. Gibson not being a man who could make conversation, and hating the duty of talking under restraint.
    • 1923, Max Brand, The Quest of Lee Garrison, New York: Leisure Books, 1999, Chapter Eighteen, p. 135,[2]
      Lee felt that disaster lurked ahead, and he did his best to stave it off by making conversation.
    • 1948, Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter, London: Heinemann, Part Two, Chapter 1, section 3, p. 208,[3]
      [] mechanically like a hostess whose mind is elsewhere but who must make conversation with however uninteresting a guest, she said, ‘Pretty girl, jig jig, one pound.’
    • 2009, Colm Tóibín, Brooklyn, New York: Scribner, 2015, p. 30,[4]
      One day, when a neighbour called and sat in the kitchen with them having tea, Eilis realized that her mother and Rose were doing everything to hide their feelings. The neighbour, almost casually, as a way of making conversation, said: “You’ll miss her when she's gone, I'd say.”

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