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

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

Examples from the Web for conceiting

Historical Examples of conceiting

  • This afternoon, tired of scheming and conceiting for the future, I had a longing to be frivolous and care-free.

    The Prairie Mother

    Arthur Stringer

  • We are always looking toward the future, talking about the future, "conceiting" for the future, as the Irish say.

    The Prairie Wife

    Arthur Stringer

British Dictionary definitions for conceiting


  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 conceiting



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