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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web That the entire project took nearly four years from conception to this month’s world premiere is not lost on him. Beth Bragg, Anchorage Daily News, "Filmmakers take a gamble on Metlakatla basketball, and it pays off with an award-winning documentary," 22 Apr. 2021 His only mission at conception was to provide free content that would be valuable to listeners. Celinne Da Costa, Forbes, "How This Entrepreneur Built An Award-Winning Podcast And A Seven-Figure Empire By Becoming A Person Of Value," 18 Mar. 2021 Building the main home, designed by Miró Rivera Architects, was an 11-year process from conception to its completion in 2010. Mark Dunphy, San Antonio Express-News, "Photos: Lakefront estate listed for $39M may have broken Austin's home price record," 3 Mar. 2021 Most abortions were performed under 14 weeks from conception — 45.5% were under six weeks and 53.9% were between seven to 13 weeks. Marcus Navarro, USA TODAY, "South Carolina governor signs bill banning abortion of fetus after heartbeat is detected," 18 Feb. 2021 The bill would apply to a pregnant mother’s health insurance premiums and all medical costs related to the pregnancy from conception to birth. Taylor Stevens, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Bill requiring fathers to pay 50% of pregnancy costs clears the Senate," 18 Feb. 2021 Hoover’s conception returned as a driving principle of American politics in the last few decades of the 20th century. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Biden’s American Families Plan would make the social safety net a reality," 28 Apr. 2021 The answer would seem to lie in something more important and much older than any modern conception of race. Evan Myers, National Review, "The Problem with ‘Allyship’," 27 Apr. 2021 Nearly 30 years after Happy Sport’s conception, Chopard has reimagined the style in a new 33mm-diameter model inspired by the golden ratio; 13 variations include Lucent steel and rose gold, and one set entirely in diamonds. Jill Newman, Town & Country, "Can Diamonds Be Happy? Inside Chopard's Latest Collection," 21 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about conception

Time Traveler for conception

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for conception

Last Updated

13 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Conception.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on conception

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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