con·​cep·​tion | \ kən-ˈsep-shən How to pronounce conception (audio) \

Definition of conception

1a(1) : the process of becoming pregnant involving fertilization or implantation or both
(2) : embryo, fetus
b : beginning "Joy had the like conception in our eyes … "— William Shakespeare
2a : the capacity, function, or process of forming or understanding ideas or abstractions or their symbols He directed the project from conception to completion.
b : a general idea : concept We get the conception of an animal … by comparing different animals …— John Stuart Mill
c : a complex product of abstract or reflective thinking the philosopher's conception of reality
d : the sum of a person's ideas and beliefs concerning something his conception of the American dream
3 : the originating of something in the mind an artist's conception of how the city would look a hundred years from now

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Other Words from conception

conceptional \ kən-​ˈsep-​shnəl How to pronounce conception (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective
conceptive \ kən-​ˈsep-​tiv How to pronounce conception (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for conception

idea, concept, conception, thought, notion, impression mean what exists in the mind as a representation (as of something comprehended) or as a formulation (as of a plan). idea may apply to a mental image or formulation of something seen or known or imagined, to a pure abstraction, or to something assumed or vaguely sensed. innovative ideas my idea of paradise concept may apply to the idea formed by consideration of instances of a species or genus or, more broadly, to any idea of what a thing ought to be. a society with no concept of private property conception is often interchangeable with concept; it may stress the process of imagining or formulating rather than the result. our changing conception of what constitutes art thought is likely to suggest the result of reflecting, reasoning, or meditating rather than of imagining. commit your thoughts to paper notion suggests an idea not much resolved by analysis or reflection and may suggest the capricious or accidental. you have the oddest notions impression applies to an idea or notion resulting immediately from some stimulation of the senses. the first impression is of soaring height

Examples of conception in a Sentence

He directed the project from conception to production. the conception of a new device They have a clear conception of how the process works. a child's conception of responsibility They have very different conceptions of the proper role of government.
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Recent Examples on the Web Ordinarily, hormonal and physical changes during pregnancy prevent another conception from occurring. Washington Post, "Woman gets pregnant while already pregnant, gives birth to twins conceived 3 weeks apart," 8 Apr. 2021 Anker was one of the driving forces behind the film's conception, having previously visited Memphis Rox, and has long pushed for better diversity in outdoor pursuits. Ben Church, CNN, "'It was super cool just having that much melanin in Montana': The climbers aiming to boost diversity," 19 Mar. 2021 When Jamie Norwood and Cynthia Plotch first cofounded Stix in 2019, they were focused on conception, launching with pregnancy and ovulation tests. Fiorella Valdesolo, Vogue, "How 3 Start-Ups Are Furthering At-Home Health Care," 17 Mar. 2021 The data revealed that most children's conception of those 13 figures could be categorized into four groups. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Study: children’s belief in Santa Claus is more nuanced than you think," 25 Dec. 2020 And in a report published Wednesday, Modern Fertility found that about 30% of people with ovaries are changing their family plans, with most deciding to delay conception. Wyatte Grantham-philips, USA TODAY, "COVID baby boom? No, 2020 triggered a baby bust - and that will have lasting impacts," 17 Dec. 2020 This swashbuckling literary style subconsciously shapes—and limits—the profession’s conception of quality criticism. Theodore Gioia, The New Republic, "Death to the Negative Restaurant Review," 16 Dec. 2020 The film then tracks the painstaking steps each participant must take — medically, physically, emotionally, societally — from the baby’s conception to its birth. Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Moving documentary ‘Ghosts of the République’ tracks a long road to parenthood," 16 Nov. 2020 Giraffes remain pregnant for 15 months after conception. Kaelan Deese, Washington Examiner, "April, the giraffe known for viral 2017 pregnancy, dies," 2 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'conception.' 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 conception

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for conception

Middle English concepcioun, from Anglo-French concepcion, from Latin conception-, conceptio, from concipere — see concept entry 1

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Time Traveler for conception

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for conception

Last Updated

19 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Conception.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for conception



English Language Learners Definition of conception

: the process of forming an idea
: the process that occurs within a woman's body when she becomes pregnant
: an idea of what something is or should be


con·​cep·​tion | \ kən-ˈsep-shən How to pronounce conception (audio) \

Medical Definition of conception

1a : the process of becoming pregnant involving fertilization or implantation or both
b : embryo, fetus
2a : the capacity, function, or process of forming or understanding ideas or abstractions or their symbols
b : a general idea

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