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How shall I tell the words "meeting" and "session" apart, whilst some dictionaries and articles introduce them as similar words (at least in a specific sense where "meeting" can be used) and some other sources present them as quite different words?

For me, session is a connection like a session which is held between a client and a server in a computer-based end-to-end, real-time chatting systems. So it strikes me as a sort of "connectin", not "gathering".

On the other hand, "meeting" and only "meeting" can imply the meaning of an event in which people discuss matters; so in spite of some dictionaries' explanations, "session" should not be able to be used here, while as per some other definitions it can!

Please let me know how native speakers think about them!

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A session is a period of time. A meeting is where two or more things or people join each other. Most business meetings can therefore be sessions. Usually the noun "meeting" means some kind of planned, enduring, period of time for discussion, and so can be a session. The verb "to meet" often has more the sense of "encounter", ie the moment the things come together.

Here are some examples to distinguish:

  • (In a university or conference) We have four sessions per day, what should we do with them? Let's use the first two sessions for lectures, the third session for private study and the fourth session for meetings with parents. (sessions = period of time in schedule, lectures are not meetings_
  • (big organisation eg United Nations) We have a plenary session on Tuesday. (a meeting and a session)
  • (conference) Let's have a quick meeting between the first and second sessions (the meeting is short, the sessions are long)
  • I had a late session last (night and got my all my homework done (no one else was there, so not a meeting, but took a long time)
  • (Jazz and similar music, scheduled period of recording) Let's have a strings session this evening, make sure all the violinists know (not a meeting because they are doing a shared task)

  • (UK drinking slang, extended drinking period) Last night we had a bit of a session, my head hurts

  • (Business) Let's go to the meeting, but I just want to say hello then leave (not a session, doesn't last any time)
  • (Act of being introduced to someone) Have you met your fiancee's parents yet? No, I'm meeting them next week before the wedding. (not a session)
  • (Act of welcoming someone) I'm meeting George at the airport (not a session, waiting there isn't the meeting: the meeting is when you greet each other
  • (Encounter) I met my deadline (implies successfully)
  • (Encounter) I met a problem
  • (Idiom for dying) The Sheriff finally sent George to a long-overdue meeting with his maker. (maker = God, means killed George, meeting=encounter, this isn't a session)
  • (Idiom for strong agreement) They had a meeting of minds (they don't even have to communicate for this to occur)
  • (Expression) When the immovable object meets the irresistible force (not a session)
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  • Thank you @jonathanjo; now I think that a session is mostly the period of time in a meeting where people are communicating; is it a correct taking? – A-friend Apr 26 '19 at 6:22
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    Session is about time; meeting is about encounter. The usual business situation is both: two or more people meet and spend time together, discussing or presenting or whatever. – jonathanjo Apr 26 '19 at 7:33
  • Therefore, @jonathanjo when it comes to a businees get-together, they can be interchangeable; right? Or even for a meeting in a school between the school's managing system members and the students's parents. Do you confirm it? – A-friend Apr 26 '19 at 7:37
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    It's not that they are interchangeable, it's that many events are both meetings and sessions, and you can describe most business or school get-togethers as either a meeting or a session. – jonathanjo Apr 26 '19 at 7:58
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Generically speaking, a "session" is a term to specify a period of time when some activity(ies) happen, and is usually followed / preceded by other sessions.

In computer networking, a session is a period of time when two (or more) computers follow a certain protocol in order to perform some activity.

  • A period devoted to a particular activity, e.g. the annual or semiannual periods of a legislative body (that together comprise the legislative term) whose individual meetings are also called sessions.
  • A meeting of a council, court, school, or legislative body to conduct its business.
  • (computing) The sequence of interactions between client and server, or between user and system; the period during which a user is logged in or connected.
  • (cricket) Any of the three scheduled two hour playing sessions, from the start of play to lunch, from lunch to tea and from tea to the close of play.
  • (obsolete) The act of sitting, or the state of being seated.
  • (music) Ellipsis of jam session
  • (education) An academic term.

A "meeting" is a very specific activity, where people get together (physically or virtually) in order to discuss some matters. ​

  • a planned occasion when people come together to discuss something
  • an occasion when people meet each other, especially when this was not planned
  • a group of people who have met for a particular purpose
  • a sports competition

If you study the linked definitions, you will understand easily that the two words cannot be confused.

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  • Thank you @virolion; do you confirm that a session is mostly the period of time in a meeting where people are communicating? – A-friend Apr 26 '19 at 6:21
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    I think it is the other way around: a session is a period of time in which people have meetings (one or more). "Session" is somehow similar with "sequence", but it refers to the time in which the sequence appears. – virolino Apr 26 '19 at 6:38

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