con·​ceit | \ kən-ˈsēt How to pronounce conceit (audio) \

Definition of conceit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : a result of mental activity : thought
(2) : individual opinion
b : favorable opinion especially : excessive appreciation of one's own worth or virtue … the landlord's conceit of his own superior knowledge … — Adam Smith
2 : a fancy item or trifle Conceits were fancy desserts, made either of sugar … or pastry.— Francie Owen
3a : a fanciful idea
b : an elaborate or strained metaphor The poem abounds in metaphysical conceits.
c : use or presence of such conceits in poetry
d : an organizing theme or concept … found his conceit for the film early …— Peter Wilkinson … the historian's conceit that the past is forever prologue …— Leon V. Sigal


conceited; conceiting; conceits

Definition of conceit (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 obsolete : conceive, understand
2 chiefly dialectal : imagine
3 dialectal British : to take a fancy to

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Examples of conceit in a Sentence


His conceit has earned him many enemies. the conceit that the crowd at the outdoor rock concert was a vast sea of people waving to the beat of the music


after a huge meal like that, I cannot conceit eating another thing for the rest of the day
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The conceit that Echo’s echoes of the soprano were enthusiastic interpolations, rapidly shushed by the two other singers, was particularly funny. Anne Midgette, Washington Post, "Early-career professionals bring flair to a tough Strauss score," 22 July 2019 Fraught with confusing metaphors and expository dialogue, Tears of the Trufflepig is an uneven debut, inconsistently fulfilling the promise of its brilliant, madcap conceit. Julian Lucas, Harper's magazine, "New Books," 10 May 2019 The account reposts Instagram photos showing people setting unpermitted fires, camping illegally, standing on Highway 1’s double yellow lines (a popular conceit on Instagram) and other misdeeds. Nick Rahaim,, "Traffic, selfies, poop: Tourists erode beauty of Big Sur," 5 July 2019 The conceit of both Perchang and Lemmings is that there’s a steady stream of something flowing into the puzzle space. Michael Moore, The Verge, "Perchang looks like Portal, but is more like Lemmings," 23 June 2019 This is how Ms Shafak’s book gets its title, and its conceit, as the dead-but-not-dead Leila scrolls back through the story of her life. The Economist, "Elif Shafak’s new novel is powerful and unflinching," 15 June 2019 Casting lends itself to the conceit: on April 29, Hamlet was played by a biracial man who dresses in drag, ukulele in hand. Nicole Blackwood,, "'Hamlet' by the Back Room Shakespeare Project is not your mother's Shakespeare," 6 June 2019 The conceit of the ad is that celebrities try to fill in for Alexa. Erik Brady, USA TODAY, "Alexa irreplaceable as Amazon wins USA TODAY's Ad Meter," 5 Feb. 2018 For all its cutesy conceits, Aggretsuko is refreshingly relatable. Megan Farokhmanesh, The Verge, "Aggretsuko’s holiday special nails the ups and downs of the perfect Instagram photo," 24 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'conceit.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of conceit


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


1557, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for conceit

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from conceivre — see conceive

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Statistics for conceit

Last Updated

26 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for conceit

The first known use of conceit was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for conceit



English Language Learners Definition of conceit

: too much pride in your own worth or goodness
literary : an idea that shows imagination


con·​ceit | \ kən-ˈsēt How to pronounce conceit (audio) \

Kids Definition of conceit

: too much pride in a person's own abilities or qualities : excessive self-esteem

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Comments on conceit

What made you want to look up conceit? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


of or relating to the heavens

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