con·ceit | \kən-ˈsēt \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The social and political comedy inherent in the idea is obvious; but what’s so strangely compelling about DeWitt’s novel is less its message than the extreme care with which the central conceit is worked out. Adam Kirsch, The Atlantic, "The Anguished Comedy of Helen DeWitt," 25 June 2018 That's cute, and all, but creator Domee Shi uses this conceit to explore larger themes of identity., "The Incredibles 2," 13 June 2018 This is the central conceit of Orwell: Ignorance is Strength. Michael Moore, The Verge, "After Cambridge Analytica, this game about government surveillance feels quaint," 15 Apr. 2018 In his typical fashion, reedist, composer, and bandleader Geof Bradfield deployed a veritable notebook of conceptual conceits when writing and formulating his new album Yes, and . . . Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, "Geof Bradfield takes inspiration from Chicago comedy culture and French composer Olivier Messiaen on his latest project," 21 June 2018 The conceit derived from a joke bylaw that actually got passed in southern France, at the time of the U.F.O. scares of the fifties, forbidding any alien to land in a vineyard. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "A Vintner’s Quest to Create a Truly American Wine," 14 May 2018 One of the dreamier conceits of the early environmental movement was that the Earth was not merely one of the solar system’s many planets. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "A New TV Series Will Make You Believe the Earth Is an Organism," 23 Mar. 2018 There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "The Universe Contains 10 to 20 Times More Galaxies Than We Thought," 13 Oct. 2016 That said, the whole conceit of the PixelQuest Arcade Kit seems a little cynical to me. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Nyko’s $20 cardboard arcade for the Switch looks to trade on the Labo’s success," 14 June 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.

See More

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


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


see conceit entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about conceit

Statistics for conceit

Last Updated

4 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for conceit

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for conceit



English Language Learners Definition of conceit

: too much pride in your own worth or goodness

: an idea that shows imagination


con·ceit | \kən-ˈsēt \

Kids Definition of conceit

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


evasion of direct action or statement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!