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

Under this very broad conception of liberty, there’s no doubt that fair-share fees — the fees that every public-sector union charges every member of a bargaining unit, even those who opt out of the union — is unconstitutional. Cristian Farias, Daily Intelligencer, "Rough Justice for Public Unions," 26 Feb. 2018 But these arguments depend on a faulty conception of free will. Micah Johnson, Scientific American, "How Responsible are Killers with Brain Damage?," 30 Jan. 2018 This is appropriate, because the Lamborghini Aventador Superveloce is a time traveler of sorts, a car that evokes a bygone conception of an exotic: the definitive Lambo. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "I Took a Road Trip in a Supercar," 2 Feb. 2016 The initial visual conception of Spider-Man did not come from Mr. Ditko. Andy Webster, New York Times, "Steve Ditko, Influential Comic-Book Artist Who Helped Create Spider-Man, Dies at 90," 7 July 2018 In a nation beset by income inequality and riven by social and cultural conflict, the traditional conception of the quiet contentment of middle-class American life appears to be on the wane. Eric Liebetrau,, "The painfully shrinking middle class," 6 July 2018 Universities like Chicago should enroll students from a variety of backgrounds—even if the academic-bureaucratic conception of diversity now in vogue is stilted and narrow. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The War on Admissions Testing," 1 July 2018 Others argued that it was related to conceptions of masculinity and the long history of powerful people exploiting vulnerable Congolese populations. Laura Seay, Washington Post, "How rape is weaponized in civil wars," 29 June 2018 For many would-be parents the main impediment to conception is now not science but finance. The Economist, "Carrot, a Silicon Valley startup, takes a novel approach to funding IVF," 28 June 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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5 Nov 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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