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

Definition of conquer

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to be victorious

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Still though, that leaves plenty of beauty products for James to conquer so here's a tip: start saving your money now. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "James Charles Just Revealed That He Wants to Start His Own Beauty Brand So Start Saving Up," 8 Nov. 2019 Rugby union flourished in its well-heeled southern heartlands, and went on to conquer much of the rugby-playing world. The Economist, "English rugby is getting less white, but not much less posh," 2 Nov. 2019 Arnautoff included both in his murals: enslaved African Americans working at Mount Vernon and a dead Native American, killed by a menacing, gray phalanx of well-armed frontiersmen, off to conquer the rest of the continent. Kevin Baker, Harper's magazine, "Whiteout," 28 Oct. 2019 When emergency units from the city of Mobile pulls up, another truck pulls up with five men on site with the equipment and the assets to conquer a situation. John Sharp |, al, "How Mobile could be poised to become a much larger city," 27 Oct. 2019 The reboot of the 1980s series continues as Catra vows to conquer Etheria before Horde Prime arrives. Carly Mallenbaum, USA TODAY, "New on Netflix for November 2019: 'The King,' 'The Crown' and 'The Irishman'," 23 Oct. 2019 The Romans failed to conquer the Scottish Highlands and by the second century the province of Britannia came to comprise the area to the south of Hadrian’s Wall. Richard Hingley, National Geographic, "Big, bad Boudica united thousands of ancient Britons against Rome," 22 Oct. 2019 And those who come and stay have a very different perspective from the idea of coming to conquer. Betsy Blumenthal, Condé Nast Traveler, "Author Namwali Serpell Gets Her Best Ideas on Planes and Trains," 21 Oct. 2019 The Red Planet has played an outsized role in the human imagination ever since H.G Wells imagined it as home base to an alien race determined to conquer Earth. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Everything You Could Possibly Want to Know About Martian Moons," 3 Oct. 2019

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

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

History and Etymology for conquer

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

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Time Traveler for conquer

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

12 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Conquer.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 November 2019.

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More Definitions for conquer


How to pronounce conquer (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of conquer

: to take control of (a country, city, etc.) through the use of force
: to defeat (someone or something) through the use of force
: to gain control of (a problem or difficulty) through great effort


con·​quer | \ ˈkäŋ-kər How to pronounce conquer (audio) \
conquered; conquering

Kids Definition of conquer

1 : to get or gain by force : win by fighting
2 : overcome sense 1 She worked hard to conquer her fears.

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More from Merriam-Webster on conquer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for conquer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with conquer

Spanish Central: Translation of conquer

Nglish: Translation of conquer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of conquer for Arabic Speakers

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