conceit
Pronunciation
  • IPA: /kənˈsiːt/
Noun

conceit

  1. (obsolete) Something conceived in the mind; an idea, a thought. [14th–18th c.]
    • 1626, Francis Bacon, Sylva Sylvarum, Or, A Naturall Historie: In Ten Centuries
      In laughing, there ever procedeth a conceit of somewhat ridiculous.
    • 1611, King James Version, Proverbs xxvi. 12
      a man wise in his own conceit
      quote en
  2. The faculty of conceiving ideas; mental faculty; apprehension.
    a man of quick conceit
    • c. 1590, Philip Sidney, The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia
      How often, alas! did her eyes say unto me that they loved! and yet I, not looking for such a matter, had not my conceit open to understand them.
  3. Quickness of apprehension; active imagination; lively fancy.
    • c. 1596–1599, William Shakespeare, “The Second Part of Henry the Fourth, […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act II, scene iv]:
      His wit's as thick as Tewksbury mustard; there is no more conceit in him than is in a mallet.
  4. (obsolete) Opinion, (neutral) judgment. [14th–18th c.]
  5. (now rare, dialectal) Esteem, favourable opinion. [from 15th c.]
  6. (countable) A novel or fanciful idea; a whim. [from 16th c.]
    • On his way to the gibbet, a freak took him in the head to go off with a conceit.
    • 1709, [Alexander Pope], An Essay on Criticism, London: Printed for W. Lewis […], published 1711, OCLC 15810849 ↗:
      Some to conceit alone their works confine, / And glitt'ring thoughts struck out at ev'ry line.
    • Tasso is full of conceits […] which are not only below the dignity of heroic verse but contrary to its nature.
    • 1851 November 13, Herman Melville, chapter 1, in Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers; London: Richard Bentley, OCLC 57395299 ↗:
      By reason of these things, then, the whaling voyage was welcome; the great flood-gates of the wonder-world swung open, and in the wild conceits that swayed me to my purpose, two and two there floated into my inmost soul, endless processions of the whale, and, mid most of them all, one grand hooded phantom, like a snow hill in the air.
    • 2012, Lauren Elkin, ‎Scott Esposito, The End of Oulipo?: An attempt to exhaust a movement
      The book's main conceit is to make poetry from univocal words (words containing just one vowel) […]
  7. (countable, rhetoric, literature) An ingenious expression or metaphorical idea, especially in extended form or used as a literary or rhetorical device. [from 16th c.]
  8. (uncountable) Overly high self-esteem; vain pride; hubris. [from 17th c.]
    • Plumed with conceit he calls aloud.
  9. Design; pattern.
    • c. 1603–1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of King Lear”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act IV, scene vi]:
      And yet I know not how conceit may rob the treasury of life when life itself yields to the theft;
Translations Translations Verb

conceit (conceits, present participle conceiting; past and past participle conceited)

  1. (obsolete) To form an idea; to think.
    • 1643: John Milton, [http://www.dartmouth.edu/~milton/reading_room/ddd/book_1/ The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce]
      Those whose […] vulgar apprehensions conceit but low of matrimonial purposes.
  2. (obsolete, transitive) To conceive.
    • The strong, by conceiting themselves weak, are therebly rendered as inactive […] as if they really were so.
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Ivlivs Cæsar”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act III, scene i]:
    • 1646, Sir Thomas Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica, V.23:
      That owls and ravens are ominous appearers, and presignifying unlucky events, as Christians yet conceit, was also an augurial conception.



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