con·​quer ˈkäŋ-kər How to pronounce conquer (audio)
conquered; conquering ˈkäŋ-k(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce conquer (audio)

transitive verb

: to gain or acquire by force of arms : subjugate
conquer territory
: to overcome by force of arms : vanquish
conquered the enemy
: to gain mastery over or win by overcoming obstacles or opposition
conquered the mountain
: to overcome by mental or moral power : surmount
conquered her fear

intransitive verb

: to be victorious
Choose the Right Synonym for conquer

conquer, vanquish, defeat, subdue, reduce, overcome, overthrow mean to get the better of by force or strategy.

conquer implies gaining mastery of.

Caesar conquered Gaul

vanquish implies a complete overpowering.

vanquished the enemy and ended the war

defeat does not imply the finality or completeness of vanquish which it otherwise equals.

the Confederates defeated the Union forces at Manassas

subdue implies a defeating and suppression.

subdued the native tribes after years of fighting

reduce implies a forcing to capitulate or surrender.

the city was reduced after a month-long siege

overcome suggests getting the better of with difficulty or after hard struggle.

overcame a host of bureaucratic roadblocks

overthrow stresses the bringing down or destruction of existing power.

violently overthrew the old regime

Examples of conquer in a Sentence

And my girlfriends are really strong, feminine women—yet we can all be girls together. Some days we just have to go out and shop, get a massage …  . The next day we want to conquer the world and start our own company. Sandra Bullock, quoted in Playboy, September 1995
After her initial passionate prayer of thanks for the strength to conquer her vast disappointment, she stayed on her knees, the hassock comfortable … James Clavell, Gai-Jin, (1993) 1994
It used to be that men "conquered" mountains in a cacophony of gratuitous chest-thumping. Tim Cahill, New York Times Book Review, 10 June 1990
But however vile the movie, the sentiments it embodies are (as they say) American as apple pie: the west was something to be conquered and claimed. Margaret Atwood, Survival, 1972
The city was conquered by the ancient Romans. They conquered all their enemies. He finally conquered his drug habit. Scientists believe the disease can be conquered. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Sony Pictures is distributing the film, which stars Joaquin Phoenix as a very moody military genius and Vanessa Kirby as the woman whose love inspires him to conquer much of Europe, millions of casualties be damned. Brent Lang, Variety, 24 Nov. 2023 As usual, Scott sells visually sumptuous cynicism, this time about Napoleon Bonaparte leveraging his control of post-Revolution France, starting in 1793, to attempt conquering the world. Armond White, National Review, 24 Nov. 2023 In the end, your child will conquer all fears and obstacles to win the race and get an award with a personalized message (courtesy of you!). Nor'adila Hepburn, Southern Living, 17 Nov. 2023 Scott and Ramona flirt cutely, but their budding romance becomes complicated by the arrival of the first of her seven evil exes, a legion Scott has to conquer before love can bloom. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 17 Nov. 2023 Egged on by Mohamed, who views Diana as the ultimate prize in his quest to conquer the British establishment, Dodi woos Diana and the relationship soon becomes romantic. Meredith Blake, Los Angeles Times, 16 Nov. 2023 Even so, there’s not much left for Khaled to conquer musically, which might explain the sense of finality that looms over this next project. Jeff Ihaza, Rolling Stone, 7 Nov. 2023 This combination of therapeutic techniques and positive reinforcement (kids defeat the monsters and conquer their fear) makes MindLight a potent antianxiety tool. Athena Aktipis, Scientific American, 1 Nov. 2023 But everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked and wiped out the Air Nomads, the first step taken by the firebenders towards conquering the world. Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica, 10 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'conquer.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, to acquire, conquer, from Anglo-French conquerre, from Vulgar Latin *conquaerere, alteration of Latin conquirere to search for, collect, from com- + quaerere to ask, search

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of conquer was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near conquer

Cite this Entry

“Conquer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


con·​quer ˈkäŋ-kər How to pronounce conquer (audio)
conquered; conquering -k(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce conquer (audio)
: to get or gain by force of arms
conquer a country
: to defeat by force of arms
conquered all their enemies
: overcome sense 1, subdue
conquer a habit
: to be victorious
conqueror noun

More from Merriam-Webster on conquer

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