conception

play
noun con·cep·tion \ kən-ˈsep-shən \

Definition of conception

1 a (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
2 a :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

conceptional

play \kən-ˈsep-shnəl, -shə-nᵊl\ adjective

conceptive

play \kən-ˈsep-tiv\ adjective

Examples of conception in a Sentence

  1. He directed the project from conception to production.

  2. the conception of a new device

  3. They have a clear conception of how the process works.

  4. a child's conception of responsibility

  5. They have very different conceptions of the proper role of government.

Recent Examples of conception from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of conception

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

Other Embryology Terms



Medical Dictionary

conception

play
noun con·cep·tion \ kən-ˈsep-shən \

medical Definition of conception

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


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up conception? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a ram's-horn trumpet used in Judaism

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!

  • young-plant-shoots
  • Which of the following is a new sense of the word bunny?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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