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  1. an excessively favorable opinion of one's own ability, importance, wit, etc.
  2. something that is conceived in the mind; a thought; idea: He jotted down the conceits of his idle hours.
  3. imagination; fancy.
  4. a fancy; whim; fanciful notion.
  5. an elaborate, fanciful metaphor, especially of a strained or far-fetched nature.
  6. the use of such metaphors as a literary characteristic, especially in poetry.
  7. a fancy, purely decorative article.
  8. British Dialect.
    1. favorable opinion; esteem.
    2. personal opinion or estimation.
  9. Obsolete. the faculty of conceiving; apprehension.
verb (used with object)
  1. to flatter (especially oneself).
  2. British Dialect. to take a fancy to; have a good opinion of.
  3. Obsolete.
    1. to imagine.
    2. to conceive; apprehend.
  1. out of conceit with, displeased or dissatisfied with.

Origin of conceit

1350–1400; Middle English conceyte, conceipt, derivative of conceive by analogy with deceive, deceit and receive, receipt; compare Anglo-French conceite; see concept

Synonyms for conceit

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Antonyms for conceit Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for conceit

Contemporary Examples of conceit

Historical Examples of conceit

  • Too bad, though—you certainly need a wife to take the conceit out of you.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • No, nor for you either, although I suppose you have conceit enough to think so.

  • But I don't know; you've kind o' got me out o' conceit with it.

    The Village Watch-Tower

    (AKA Kate Douglas Riggs) Kate Douglas Wiggin

  • And if you only knew how ignorant and frivolous these women are, despite all their conceit!

  • The conceit deceitful in the painting, is the imagination that means more than its says.

    A Dish Of Orts

    George MacDonald

British Dictionary definitions for conceit


  1. a high, often exaggerated, opinion of oneself or one's accomplishments; vanity
  2. literary an elaborate image or far-fetched comparison, esp as used by the English Metaphysical poets
  3. archaic
    1. a witty expression
    2. fancy; imagination
    3. an idea
  4. obsolete a small ornament
verb (tr)
  1. Northern English dialect to like or be able to bear (something, such as food or drink)
  2. obsolete to think or imagine

Word Origin for conceit

C14: from conceive
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

Word Origin and History for conceit

late 14c., "something formed in the mind, thought, notion," from conceiven (see conceive) based on analogy of deceit and receipt. Sense evolved from "something formed in the mind," to "fanciful or witty notion" (1510s), to "vanity" (c.1600) through shortening of self-conceit (1580s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper