con·cep·tion | \ kən-ˈsep-shən \

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, -shə-nᵊl \ adjective
conceptive \kən-ˈsep-tiv \ 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

The path of the sociopolitical comedy from conception to the screen is an improbable story for the 47-year-old director. Peter Hartlaub,, "Rapper Boots Riley finds his place behind camera with ‘Sorry to Bother You’," 30 June 2018 From conception to opening took station officials about nine months. Matt Campbell, kansascity, "New Union Station exhibit has life-sized moving dinosaurs and bones you can touch," 29 June 2018 Revisit the story of your birth and conception, and then track it back even farther. Bess Matassa, Teen Vogue, "Weekly Horoscopes July 2-8," 29 June 2018 The fact that any of us make it from conception to birth, when there are any number of forces that can keep us from existing, is indeed a miracle., "Fathers suffer from pregnancy loss and stillbirths, too," 5 June 2018 Absent the drama of that fugitive conception, Morton’s Meghan: A Hollywood Princess toils to make the most of Markle’s mixed-family background growing up in Woodland Hills, Calif. and Hollywood. Tina Brown, Time, "Tina Brown: Meghan Markle Was Destined to Be the Ideal 21st-Century Princess," 26 Apr. 2018 Similarly, popular conceptions of the GOP — that it is driven primarily by conservative economic principles like small government, low taxes, and deregulation — are also wrong. David Roberts, Vox, "The choice for Never Trumpers is obvious, but not easy," 24 Apr. 2018 The tribalist does not begin with a pluralist conception of the good and work backward to policy. David Roberts, Vox, "Tribalism fueled Scott Pruitt’s rise to power — and the scandals that came with it," 5 July 2018 Females go into estrus for only a couple days annually, and Mei Xiang and her mate, Tian Tian, have previously encountered difficulties with natural conception. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "Giant Panda Mei Xiang Will Not Give Birth," 5 July 2018

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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Phrases Related to conception

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Last Updated

10 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for conception

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

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More Definitions for conception


con·cep·tion | \ kən-ˈsep-shən \

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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occurring twice a year or every two years

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