transitive verb con·vinced
- To bring by the use of argument or evidence to firm belief or a course of action. See Synonyms at persuade.
- Obsolete To prove to be wrong or guilty.
- Obsolete To conquer; overpower.
Origin: Latin convincere, to prove wrong
Origin: : com-, intensive pref.; see com-
Origin: + vincere, to conquer; see weik-3 in Indo-European roots
Related Forms:Usage Note:
According to a traditional rule, one persuades
someone to act but convinces
someone of the truth of a statement or proposition: By convincing me that no good could come of staying, he persuaded me to leave.
If the distinction is accepted, then convince
should not be used with an infinitive: He persuaded (not convinced) me to go.
In a 1981 survey, 61 percent of the Usage Panel rejected the use of convince
with an infinitive. But the tide of sentiment against the construction appears to be turning. In a 1996 survey 74 percent accepted it in the sentence I tried to convince him to chip in a few dollars, but he refused.
Even in passive constructions, a majority of the Panel accepted convince
with an infinitive. Fifty-two percent accepted the sentence After listening to the teacher's report, the committee was convinced to go ahead with the new reading program. Persuade,
on the other hand, is perfectly acceptable when used with an infinitive or a that
clause in both active and passive constructions. An overwheming majority of Panelists in the 1996 survey accepted the following sentences: After a long discussion with her lawyer, she was persuaded to drop the lawsuit. The President persuaded his advisors that military action was necessary.
Thus, it seems likely that advocates of the traditional rule governing persuade
will find fewer and fewer allies in their camp.