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

Definition of conceit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : favorable opinion especially : excessive appreciation of one's own worth or virtue … the landlord's conceit of his own superior knowledge … — Adam Smith
b(1) : a result of mental activity : thought
(2) : individual opinion
2a : 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
3 : a fancy item or trifle Conceits were fancy desserts, made either of sugar … or pastry.— Francie Owen


conceited; conceiting; conceits

Definition of conceit (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

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

Examples of conceit in a Sentence

Noun 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 Verb after a huge meal like that, I cannot conceit eating another thing for the rest of the day
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The conceit of this new video is that Reynolds is conscripting tour-goers into Aviation employment. oregonlive, 22 Sep. 2022 Polley’s conceit is that Autje is telling the story of the meeting to the unborn child of Ona, played by Rooney Mara. Esther Zuckerman, Time, 14 Sep. 2022 The conceit of the documentary is that Rodrigo is taking a nostalgic solo road trip, in her vintage sky-blue Ford Bronco, from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 22 Mar. 2022 Also, each subplot is meant to evoke different film genres, which is a clever conceit, but the genres (prison breakout movie, stoner action comedy, '80s slasher horror, eg) don't always mesh particularly well. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 17 July 2022 Obviously traveling from city to city is the conceit of this particular trip. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 5 Nov. 2021 It’s all just a little too immaculately rendered to be satisfying, or even compelling beyond the initial conceit. Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, 19 Aug. 2022 Dunham’s conceit combines the realistic sleaze of Red Rocket and the gynophobic conceptual fantasy of Todd Haynes’s Safe. Armond White, National Review, 17 Aug. 2022 In 1990, Andrew Bergman directed The Freshman, a Matthew Broderick comedy whose chief conceit was casting Marlon Brando to play a Mob boss whom everyone in the movie could see looked exactly like, well, Vito Corleone. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 7 July 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of conceit


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


1557, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for conceit

Noun and Verb

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

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Time Traveler for conceit

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near conceit

concede defeat



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Last Updated

28 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Conceit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for conceit


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

More from Merriam-Webster on conceit

Nglish: Translation of conceit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of conceit for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about conceit


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