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con·​ceit kən-ˈsēt How to pronounce conceit (audio)
: favorable opinion
especially : excessive appreciation of one's own worth or virtue
… the landlord's conceit of his own superior knowledge … Adam Smith
: a result of mental activity : thought
: individual opinion
: a fanciful idea
: an elaborate or strained metaphor
The poem abounds in metaphysical conceits.
: use or presence of such conceits in poetry
: 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
: a fancy item or trifle
Conceits were fancy desserts, made either of sugar … or pastry.Francie Owen


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conceited; conceiting; conceits

transitive verb

chiefly dialectal : imagine
dialectal British : to take a fancy to
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
Making savvy use of that thriller conceit, Tolkin’s wildly entertaining first novel offers a front-row seat to the self-absorption that characterizes those who would (and do) become mythmakers in Tinseltown. Matt Brennan, Los Angeles Times, 8 Apr. 2024 The conceit is simple: what if Lambo made a rally car? Sean Evans, Robb Report, 1 Apr. 2024 There is a didactic quality to this conceit that can grow a bit tedious. Lauren Michele Jackson, The New Yorker, 26 Mar. 2024 Crucially, the video game conceit suits the play — not only the fight-heavy storyline, with its sense of continually rebooting military and political clashes, but also Coriolanus’s relative deficit of interiority (especially compared with protagonists of other Shakespeare tragedies). Celia Wren, Washington Post, 6 Mar. 2024 That's the terrifying conceit at the core of Evil Eye, and worse, Usha sees Sandeep's true intentions, but no one, including her daughter, will believe her., 19 Dec. 2023 To Gromyko, such conceit must have seemed breathtaking. Benn Steil, Foreign Affairs, 19 Mar. 2024 So what might seem like improvements or expansions — elaborate group choreography, imaginative conceits — risk straying from the emotional core that makes flamenco flamenco. Brian Seibert, New York Times, 18 Mar. 2024 Johnson’s legal conceit allowed Republicans to side with Trump without embracing his frivolous claims. David D. Kirkpatrick, The New Yorker, 15 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'conceit.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun and Verb

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

First Known Use


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


1557, in the meaning defined at sense 3

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

Dictionary Entries Near conceit

Cite this Entry

“Conceit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: too much pride in one's own worth or virtue
: an idea showing imagination
: a complicated way of expressing something

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