[kuh n-seev]

verb (used with object), con·ceived, con·ceiv·ing.

verb (used without object), con·ceived, con·ceiv·ing.

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 formscon·ceiv·er, nounnon·con·ceiv·ing, noun, adjectivere·con·ceive, verb, re·con·ceived, re·con·ceiving.un·con·ceived, adjectivewell-con·ceived, adjective

Synonyms for conceive

2, 8. See imagine. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for conceive

Contemporary Examples of conceive

Historical Examples of conceive

  • 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.


    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
(tr; takes a clause as object or an infinitive) to hold as an opinion; believe
(tr) to develop or form, esp in the mindshe conceived a passion for music
to become pregnant with (young)
(tr) rare to express in words
Derived Formsconceiver, noun

Word Origin for conceive

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

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

Medicine definitions for conceive




To become pregnant.
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.