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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For Liu's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Marvel kept the name and the conceit, but reinvented everything else. Phil Yu,, 6 July 2021 While the conceit of the series sounds like a parody, Naked and Afraid is alarmingly serious. Mike Bloom, Outside Online, 1 July 2021 Spielberg-Kubrick’s conceit confronts pop nihilism and resolves it, which is why stupid reviewers castigated a film that demands reconsideration today. Armond White, National Review, 30 June 2021 The conceit of this essay collection from the star YA author can sound like a bit much. Marshall Heyman, Vulture, 23 June 2021 This is a profoundly out-of-touch conceit in 2021, when a guy on the internet showing up in your inbox with intimate personal details should only set off klaxons and signs flashing do not engage. Mark Athitakis, Star Tribune, 28 June 2021 Because of the obstacles women face to be taken seriously, is there always a conceit within that empowerment? Jackson Mchenry, Vulture, 22 June 2021 The conceit here is that the Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci numbered among his inventions a closet that works as a portal for time travel—and is used by, among others, his cat. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, 28 May 2021 Democrats, succumbing to the same neoliberal logic, began treating all tax increases as a quick ticket to electoral disaster, and bought into Republicans’ core conceit even as deficits grew. Jacob Silverman, The New Republic, 18 June 2021

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 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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Learn More About conceit

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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Statistics for conceit

Last Updated

18 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Conceit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jul. 2021.

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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

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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