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[kuh n-seev] /kənˈsiv/
verb (used with object), conceived, conceiving.
to form (a notion, opinion, purpose, etc.):
He conceived the project while he was on vacation.
to form a notion or idea of; imagine.
to hold as an opinion; think; believe:
I can't conceive that it would be of any use.
to experience or form (a feeling):
to conceive a great love for music.
to express, as in words.
to become pregnant with.
to beget.
to begin, originate, or found (something) in a particular way (usually used in the passive):
a new nation conceived in liberty.
Archaic. to understand; comprehend.
verb (used without object), conceived, conceiving.
to form an idea; think (usually followed by of).
to become pregnant.
Origin of conceive
1250-1300; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French conceivre < Latin concipere to take fully, take in, equivalent to con- con- + -cipere, combining form of capere to take
Related forms
conceiver, noun
nonconceiving, noun, adjective
reconceive, verb, reconceived, reconceiving.
unconceived, adjective
well-conceived, adjective
2, 8. See imagine. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for conceive
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • One could conceive of it as possible to turn toward Him—and reach, the objective.

  • You cannot conceive in your mind how stubborn and brainless they are.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • To the artist, expression is the only mode under which he can conceive life at all.

    De Profundis Oscar Wilde
  • What induced him to attempt this style it is difficult to conceive.

    Handel Edward J. Dent
  • All loveliness, all grace, all majesty are there; but we cannot see, cannot conceive—come away!

    Green Mansions W. H. Hudson
British Dictionary definitions for conceive


when intr, foll by of; when tr, often takes a clause as object. to have an idea (of); imagine; think
(transitive; takes a clause as object or an infinitive) to hold as an opinion; believe
(transitive) to develop or form, esp in the mind: she conceived a passion for music
to become pregnant with (young)
(transitive) (rare) to express in words
Derived Forms
conceiver, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French conceivre, from Latin concipere to take in, from capere to take
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for conceive

late 13c., conceiven, "take (seed) into the womb, become pregnant," from stem of Old French conceveir (Modern French concevoir), from Latin concipere (past participle conceptus) "to take in and hold; become pregnant," from com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + comb. form of capere "to take," from PIE *kap- "to grasp" (see capable). Meaning "take into the mind" is from mid-14c., a figurative sense also found in the Old French and Latin words. Related: Conceived; conceiving.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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conceive in Medicine

conceive con·ceive (kən-sēv')
v. con·ceived, con·ceiv·ing, con·ceives

  1. To become pregnant.

  2. To apprehend mentally; to understand.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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