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 The fault would seem to lie with Phillips and co-scribe Scott Silver, both of whom seem far too enamored of their combustible, of-the-moment conceit, and perhaps scared stiff by it, to responsibly handle the material. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "What to Watch This Weekend In Theaters and On Demand, From ‘Joker’ to ‘Low Tide’," 4 Oct. 2019 The monarchical conceit wears thin—but the wider observations are acute. The Economist, "In praise of British exceptionalism," 26 Sep. 2019 Built into the show’s conceit is the idea of failure as a collective project. Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "The Netflix baking competition “Nailed It” teaches us how to find joy in failure," 3 June 2019 That’s the conceit of the trailer for Netflix’s upcoming film Holiday Rush, which could be poised to be another Christmas classic. Eric Todisco,, "Watch the First Trailer for Netflix's Holiday Rush with A Million Little Things' Romany Malco," 13 Nov. 2019 The conceit of Maura's death would have made a poignant denouement, but the musical element completely frustrates the storytelling. Robyn Bahr, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Transparent: Musicale Finale': TV Review," 16 Sep. 2019 The conceit of the new series is that the original cast of the beloved high- school drama reunites 30 years later at a fan convention and then decides to mount a revival of the series to make money and help their careers. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "'BH 90210' recap: Welcome to the surreal world," 7 Aug. 2019 His mythology’s rhetoric — that a black Polo-wearing kid from Chicago’s wins are also ours — sells that conceit. Brian Josephs,, "Kanye West is an unreliable pastor on Jesus Is King," 28 Oct. 2019 The overarching conceit works well, even if the legal discussions of mind-reading slow things down., "Caleb Crain’s ‘Overthrow’ a political thriller with a radical spirit," 22 Aug. 2019

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

13 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Conceit.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 14 December 2019.

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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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