verb con·ceive \ kən-ˈsēv \
|Updated on: 14 Aug 2018

Definition of conceive

conceived; conceiving
1 a : to become pregnant with (young)
  • conceive a child
b : to cause to begin : originate
  • a project conceived by the company's founder
2 a : to take into one's mind
  • conceive a prejudice
b : to form a conception of : imagine
  • a badly conceived design
  • cleverly conceived teleplays
3 : to apprehend by reason or imagination : understand
  • unable to conceive his reasons
  • It is easy enough to conceive the notion that your island is a sort of fortress.
  • —Paul Theroux
4 : to have as an opinion
  • I cannot conceive that he acted alone.
1 : to become pregnant
2 : to have a conception usually used with of
  • conceives of death as emptiness
  • It is hard to conceive of all the work that must have been involved in starting off from scratch.
  • —Harold Fromm



Examples of conceive in a Sentence

  1. When the writer conceived this role, he had a specific actor in mind to play the part.

  2. As conceived by the committee, the bill did not raise taxes.

  3. a woman who has been unable to conceive

  4. a woman who has been unable to conceive a child

Recent Examples of conceive from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'conceive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of conceive

Middle English, from Anglo-French conceivre, from Latin concipere to take in, conceive, from com- + capere to take — more at heave

Synonym Discussion of conceive

think, conceive, imagine, fancy, realize, envisage, envision mean to form an idea of. think implies the entrance of an idea into one's mind with or without deliberate consideration or reflection.
    • I just thought of a good joke
conceive suggests the forming and bringing forth and usually developing of an idea, plan, or design.
    • conceived of a new marketing approach
imagine stresses a visualization.
    • imagine you're at the beach
fancy suggests an imagining often unrestrained by reality but spurred by desires.
    • fancied himself a super athlete
realize stresses a grasping of the significance of what is conceived or imagined.
    • realized the enormity of the task ahead
envisage and envision imply a conceiving or imagining that is especially clear or detailed.
    • envisaged a totally computerized operation
    • envisioned a cure for the disease

CONCEIVE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of conceive for English Language Learners

  • : to think of or create (something) in the mind

  • : to become pregnant

CONCEIVE Defined for Kids


verb con·ceive \ kən-ˈsēv \

Definition of conceive for Students

conceived; conceiving
1 : to form an idea of : imagine
  • She is unable to conceive how it happened.
2 : think 1
  • He was generally conceived of as a genius.

Medical Dictionary


verb con·ceive \ kən-ˈsēv \

medical Definition of conceive

conceived; conceiving
: to become pregnant with (young)
: to become pregnant

Seen and Heard

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fullness to the point of excess

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