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 series has the conceit of connections to Sherlock Holmes stories, but the amateur detective duo – a brilliant literature professor and his brother-in-law – is more akin to Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. Jeff Suess, The Enquirer, "16 novels set in Cincinnati for your reading list," 22 Apr. 2021 Using the hashtag #RacismIsNotComedy, critics called for the company to acknowledge that the cartoon’s conceit itself is problematic, so as to prevent similar images from being created in the future. Julia Barajas, Los Angeles Times, "A BTS card that depicted the K-pop band beaten is pulled amid anti-Asian violence," 17 Mar. 2021 Though the sketch has probably had half a dozen incarnations, when counting bits from Maya & Marty, the conceit still works. Matthew Love, Vulture, "Saturday Night Live Recap: Carey Mulligan Kicks the Drama Into Hyperspace," 11 Apr. 2021 The core conceit and twisty reveal are neat even if the execution's a bit rough. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "What to stream this weekend: Netflix's 'Thunder Force,' 'City of Lies' with Johnny Depp," 9 Apr. 2021 The shows share the same rough conceit and approach to who plays the main character: the adults portraying these teens are giving totally sincere performances. Kathryn Vanarendonk, Vulture, "Chad Tests the Limits of How Funny Awkward Can Be," 6 Apr. 2021 The conceit is thrilling, and the argument for historical linkage that Alipoor and Housley construct is inspired. Washington Post, "As live stages await their big comeback, theater on camera is getting better and better," 2 Apr. 2021 Sure, part of it is the inherent false equivalence between weddings and housing, the conceit that choosing one of those two things is a reasonable dilemma. Kate Knibbs, Wired, "Netflix’s Marriage or Mortgage Is Maddening," 17 Mar. 2021 Baker’s runway conceit reveals the haut-bourgeois attitude that separates the classes in New York and throughout COVID America. Armond White, National Review, "Khaite FW21 — Sean Baker’s Fashion Week Faux Pas," 10 Mar. 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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Statistics for conceit

Last Updated

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Conceit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 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

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