conceive

verb

con·​ceive kən-ˈsēv How to pronounce conceive (audio)
conceived; conceiving

transitive verb

1
a
: to become pregnant with (young)
conceive a child
b
: to cause to begin : originate
a project conceived by the company's founder
2
a
: to take into one's mind
conceive a prejudice
b
: to form a conception of : imagine
a badly conceived design
cleverly conceived teleplays
3
: to apprehend by reason or imagination : understand
unable to conceive his reasons
It is easy enough to conceive the notion that your island is a sort of fortress. Paul Theroux
4
: to have as an opinion
I cannot conceive that he acted alone.

intransitive verb

1
: to become pregnant
2
: to have a conception
usually used with of
conceives of death as emptinessIt is hard to conceive of all the work that must have been involved in starting off from scratch. Harold Fromm
conceiver noun
Choose the Right Synonym for conceive

think, conceive, imagine, fancy, realize, envisage, envision mean to form an idea of.

think implies the entrance of an idea into one's mind with or without deliberate consideration or reflection.

I just thought of a good joke

conceive suggests the forming and bringing forth and usually developing of an idea, plan, or design.

conceived of a new marketing approach

imagine stresses a visualization.

imagine you're at the beach

fancy suggests an imagining often unrestrained by reality but spurred by desires.

fancied himself a super athlete

realize stresses a grasping of the significance of what is conceived or imagined.

realized the enormity of the task ahead

envisage and envision imply a conceiving or imagining that is especially clear or detailed.

envisaged a totally computerized operation
envisioned a cure for the disease

Example Sentences

When the writer conceived this role, he had a specific actor in mind to play the part. As conceived by the committee, the bill did not raise taxes. a woman who has been unable to conceive a woman who has been unable to conceive a child
Recent Examples on the Web Boseman died before filming commenced, forcing Coogler to re-conceive the movie, creating the rare comic book movie that also doubles as a portrait of grief. Rebecca Rubin, Variety, 14 Nov. 2022 The detailed image took over a month to conceive, design and complete, and consists of over 250,000 stitches. Sean Evans, Robb Report, 8 Feb. 2022 Parker could not conceive following her hysterectomy. Landon Mion, Fox News, 4 Oct. 2022 She wasn't involved in the study but said that typically, there's a reason people go the frozen embryo route, and that reason is quite different from someone who's able to naturally conceive. Saleen Martin, USA TODAY, 27 Sep. 2022 Few of Bruno’s contemporaries could even conceive of the idea that there might be something in space beyond what the eye could see. Charles Cockell, WSJ, 1 Sep. 2022 During the trial over her conservatorship, Spears alleged she was being kept from being able to conceive and has wanted to have a child with her long-time partner. Aimée Lutkin, ELLE, 15 May 2022 Sirtori is still hoping to analyze what happens if two carriers conceive a child. Silvia Marchetti, CNN, 20 Oct. 2022 The unfortunate result is her inability to conceive with her husband while having three sons by a lover. David Routt, Smithsonian Magazine, 19 Oct. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'conceive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, from Anglo-French conceivre, from Latin concipere to take in, conceive, from com- + capere to take — more at heave entry 1

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near conceive

Cite this Entry

“Conceive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conceive. Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

conceive

verb

con·​ceive kən-ˈsēv How to pronounce conceive (audio)
conceived; conceiving
1
: to become pregnant or pregnant with
conceive a child
2
a
: to take into the mind
conceived a liking for the singer
b
: to form an idea of : imagine
conceive a new design
3
: to have as an opinion : think
conceived of her as a genius
conceivable
-ˈsē-və-bəl
adjective
conceivably
-blē
adverb
conceiver noun

Medical Definition

conceive

verb

con·​ceive kən-ˈsēv How to pronounce conceive (audio)
conceived; conceiving

transitive verb

: to become pregnant with (young)

intransitive verb

: to become pregnant

More from Merriam-Webster on conceive

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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