Etymology
Advertisement
conference (n.)
Origin and meaning of conference

1550s, "act of consulting together," from French confrence (15c.), from Medieval Latin conferentia, from Latin conferens, present participle of conferre "to bring together; deliberate, talk over," literally "to bring together," from assimilated form of com "together" (see con-) + ferre "to bear, carry" (from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry," also "to bear children"). Meaning "formal meeting for consultation, discussion, instruction, exchange of opinions, etc.," is from 1580s. As a verb from 1846 (implied in conferencing).

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
teleconference (n.)
1952, originally a proprietary name, from tele- + conference. Not in common use until c. 1974.
Related entries & more 
confer (v.)
Origin and meaning of confer

1530s, "examine by comparison;" 1540s (intransitive) "consult together on some special subject;" 1560s, "bestow as a gift or permanent possession," from Old French conférer (14c.) "to give; to converse; to compare," from Latin conferre "to bring together," figuratively "to compare; consult, deliberate, talk over," from assimilated form of com "together" (see con-) + ferre "to bear, carry," from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry," also "to bear children."

The sense of "taking counsel" led to conference. The oldest English meaning, that of "compare" (common 1530-c. 1650), is largely obsolete, but the abbreviation cf. still is used in this sense. Related: Conferred; conferring.

Related entries & more 
*bher- (1)

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to carry," also "to bear children."

It forms all or part of: Aberdeen; amphora; anaphora; aquifer; auriferous; bairn; barrow (n.1) "frame for carrying a load;" bear (v.); bearing; Berenice; bier; birth; bring; burden (n.1) "a load;" carboniferous; Christopher; chromatophore; circumference; confer; conference; conifer; cumber; cumbersome; defer (v.2) "yield;" differ; difference; differentiate; efferent; esophagus; euphoria; ferret; fertile; Foraminifera; forbear (v.); fossiliferous; furtive; indifferent; infer; Inverness; Lucifer; metaphor; odoriferous; offer; opprobrium; overbear; paraphernalia; periphery; pestiferous; pheromone; phoresy; phosphorus; Porifera; prefer; proffer; proliferation; pyrophoric; refer; reference; semaphore; somniferous; splendiferous; suffer; transfer; vociferate; vociferous.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit bharati "he carries, brings," bhrtih "a bringing, maintenance;" Avestan baraiti "carries;" Old Persian barantiy "they carry;" Armenian berem "I carry;" Greek pherein "to carry," pherne "dowry;" Latin ferre "to bear, carry," fors (genitive fortis) "chance, luck," perhaps fur "a thief;" Old Irish beru/berim "I catch, I bring forth," beirid "to carry;" Old Welsh beryt "to flow;" Gothic bairan "to carry;" Old English and Old High German beran, Old Norse bera "barrow;" Old Church Slavonic birati "to take;" Russian brat' "to take," bremya "a burden," beremennaya "pregnant."

Related entries & more 
colloquium (n.)

c. 1600, "conversation, dialogue" (a sense now obsolete), from Latin colloquium "conference, conversation," literally "a speaking together," from com- "together" (see com-) + -loquium "speaking," from loqui "to speak" (from PIE root *tolkw- "to speak"). Also as a legal term; meaning "a meeting for discussion, assembly, conference, seminar" is attested by 1844.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
SCLC (n.)
initialism (acronym) of Southern Christian Leadership Conference, founded 1957 by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Bayard Rustin, and others.
Related entries & more 
intercommunication (n.)
mid-15c., "discussion, conference," from Anglo-Latin intercommunicationem; see inter- + communication. Attested from 1881 in reference to systems of linked telephones.
Related entries & more 
conferee (n.)

1779, "one who is conferred with, a member of a conference;" see confer + -ee. Earlier it meant "a colleague or companion" (mid-15c.).

Related entries & more 
Locarno 
place in Switzerland; a 1925 conference held there between Germany and other European powers led to treaties for the preservation of peace and the security of borders.
Related entries & more 
parliament (n.)

c. 1300, parlement, "consultation; formal conference, assembly," from Old French parlement (11c.), originally "a speaking, talk," from parler "to speak" (see parley (n.)); the spelling was altered c. 1400 to conform with Medieval Latin parliamentum.

Anglo-Latin parliamentum is attested from early 13c. The specific sense of "representative assembly of England or Ireland" (with capital P-) emerged by mid-14c. from the broader meaning "a conference of the secular and/or ecclesiastical aristocracy summoned by a monarch."

Related entries & more