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 But most of the guest actors fail to transcend their stock characters, which means being stuck for 20 or so minutes with a sketch-comedy conceit that refuses to deepen into anything more layered or nuanced. Inkoo Kang, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Hitmen': TV Review," 4 Aug. 2020 The conceit of the shamanic experience in the book, the journey that Sam goes on, felt like a way to create some structure narratively. Alamin Yohannes,, "Sam Lansky on queer storytelling and moving into fiction with Broken People," 8 June 2020 There’s the film-within-a-film, whose science-fiction conceit is that a mother frozen in youth returns every seven years to visit her aging child. Lidija Haas, The New Republic, "Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Ingenious Families," 2 July 2020 That's the conceit behind Blithe Spirit, a new film based on the 1941 Noel Coward play of the same name. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Get a first look at Judi Dench and Dan Stevens in Blithe Spirit," 15 June 2020 But in its conceit and execution, Group represents a shift in the micro-genre. Amy Wallace, The Atlantic, "The Curious Comforts of a YouTube Show About Group Therapy," 11 June 2020 After all, the entire conceit of the show is based around being cut off completely from society while quarantining inside a house. Dalton Ross,, "Why another Big Brother: All-Stars makes sense," 9 June 2020 Beyond opening up a safe space of sorts for the performers, the show’s conceit, of subjecting theater to a high degree of unpredictable behavior, is the show’s most unusual aspect. New York Times, "An Online Theater Festival Where the Future Is Female," 7 May 2020 Its minimal characters weren't exceptionally interesting; the conceit, of an energy company mining hell itself for power, is both too on-the-nose and, somehow, in the era of climate change, not on-the-nose enough. Julie Muncy, Wired, "Doom Eternal Is a Dizzying Catastrophe," 17 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for conceit

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for conceit

Last Updated

10 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Conceit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for conceit


How to pronounce conceit (audio)

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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