con·​cep·​tu·​al | \ kən-ˈsep-chə-wəl How to pronounce conceptual (audio) , -chü-əl, kän-, -chəl, -shwəl\

Definition of conceptual

: of, relating to, or consisting of concepts conceptual thinking the project's conceptual and technical hurdles conceptual designs

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Other Words from conceptual

conceptuality \ kən-​ˌsep-​chə-​ˈwa-​lə-​tē How to pronounce conceptuality (audio) , -​shə-​ ; -​chü-​ˈa-​ , -​shü-​ \ noun
conceptually adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for conceptual


abstract, ideal, ideational, metaphysical, notional, theoretical (also theoretic)


concrete, nonabstract

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Examples of conceptual in a Sentence

The plans have both conceptual and practical difficulties. conceptual thinking is often the most demanding kind of mental activity

Recent Examples on the Web

The first test is called the Alternate Uses Task and measures conceptual expansion: typically by asking people to think of as many possible uses for an everyday object, such as a brick or a paperclip. The Economist, "Zapping the brain improves creativity," 14 June 2019 The next phase of the project will be 18 months of conceptual planning. Anna Bauman, Detroit Free Press, "Winner of DIA design competition announced, seeks to reimagine Midtown Detroit," 10 June 2019 Piotrowski declined to say how many units F Street Group is considering in its conceptual proposal. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "F Street Group pitches large Brown Deer apartment development near similar neighborhood project," 4 June 2019 This year, the gallery’s booth pairs rising art world star Harold Ancart, whose Public Art Fund commission titled Subliminal Standard debuted today at Cadman Plaza Park, and conceptual artist and photographer Christopher Williams. Lane Florsheim, WSJ, "Frieze Preview: 5 Things to See and Do at the New York Art Fair," 1 May 2019 But the conceptual difficulty of projecting a hologram from quantum particles living in the infinite future has long stymied efforts to describe real space-time holographically. Quanta Magazine, "How Our Universe Could Emerge as a Hologram," 21 Feb. 2019 At the low end are things that are largely conceptual and may not be possible. Bobak Ferdowsi, Popular Mechanics, "Why I Want To Put a Kindle in Space," 9 Aug. 2018 Many of the 35,400 books and articles written about neoliberalism over the past three years include some conceptual stretching. Walter Hatch, Washington Post, "Cornel West accused Ta-Nehisi Coates of being a neoliberal. Does neoliberal still mean anything?," 23 Jan. 2018 Rather, the proposal was conceptual in nature, said U.S. officials, who argue that isn’t sufficient. Lingling Wei, WSJ, "U.S. Won’t Resume Trade Talks Without Firm Proposal From a Wary China," 25 Oct. 2018

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

1825, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for conceptual

Medieval Latin conceptualis of thought, from Late Latin conceptus act of conceiving, thought, from Latin concipere — see concept entry 1

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Statistics for conceptual

Last Updated

19 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for conceptual

The first known use of conceptual was in 1825

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English Language Learners Definition of conceptual

: based on or relating to ideas or concepts


con·​cep·​tu·​al | \ kən-ˈsep-chə(-wə)l, kän-, -ˈsepsh-wəl How to pronounce conceptual (audio) \

Medical Definition of conceptual

: of, relating to, or consisting of concepts

Other Words from conceptual

conceptually adverb

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Comments on conceptual

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


to take the place or position of

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