People normally associate the word symposium with intellectual discussion or as a slightly high-brow word for conference. The Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners gives the following definition: 'a meeting where experts discuss a particular subject'.

The word has quite surprising origins, however. It ultimately derives from a Greek word meaning 'drinking together' and refers to the practice in Ancient Greece of drinking copious quantities of wine whilst engaged in intellectual discussion. Presumably most modern-day symposia are alcohol-free, at least during the proceedings!