So I looked up the meaning of to convene in the online Cambridge Dictionary.

to bring together a group of people for a meeting, or to meet for a meeting


Are those sentences correct?

The cult members convened for their monthly conference.

An US jury is convened by the responsible attorney

  • 1
    If you know the definition (and different senses) of convened, what leads you to suspect that your sentences are incorrect? Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 17:38
  • Insecurity, because the word is a new one for me and it is also very topical. Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 17:40
  • The use of "convened" is appropriate in the second example. On the other hand, some of the other terms in the second example should be changed to match how the U.S. legal system works. "A U.S. grand jury is convened by the District Attorney." would be better. A grand jury has a different role than a regular (trial) jury does. In most cases, the "responsible attorney" for requesting indictments from a grand jury has the title of "District Attorney". In American English, "U.S." is pronounced "you ess"; its indefinite article is "a", not "an".
    – Jasper
    Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 17:50
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    The use of "convened" is correct in the first example. On the other hand, the connotations of some other terms conflict. In modern contexts, "cult" has connotations of a small religious group that is dangerously devoted to a leader. In contexts where "convene" is appropriate, "conference" has connotations of an infrequent gathering of respectable representatives from a widespread group.
    – Jasper
    Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 18:02
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    As a follow-on to what @Jasper said, convene is a rather formal word that may not work well for a monthly cult gathering. Interestingly enough, a Ngram shows that the phrase annual meeting convened shows up in books, while the phrase monthly meeting convened does not. There's nothing wrong with what you wrote grammatically, but I think most authors would choose a simpler word for a less significant meeting: The cult members met for their monthly gathering.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 18:14

1 Answer 1


Convene is simply a formal way to say gather together or meet, and is the root of the more common word convention. However, convene also includes a slightly positive nuance, as if the gathering is regular, well-organized, and stately. You would not, for example, convene a bacchanal or monster truck rally -- or at least not without considerably irony.

So, if you say the cult members convened their gathering, it might imply you view the cult favorably, as if they are a legitimate organization, which presents an odd contrast with the negative term "cult". Alternately, it could imply that they are organized enough to have established practices, and as a result might have some kind of significant power. It all depends on the context.

I can't think of any negative synonyms for convene. Instead the nuance would come from the context.

Every week, the cult members would be gathered together before their leader to listen to his new dictates and proclamations.

Final note: It's somewhat redundant to say members would convene for a conference -- by definition you're saying the members would meet formally for a formal meeting. Instead if you do use convene (and you should, it's a good word) add detail about why or how they were meeting. For example:

The oversight committee is required to convene every month to approve any budget changes, and prepare a formal status report for the board of trustees.

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