from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Psychology The aspect of mental processes or behavior directed toward action or change and including impulse, desire, volition, and striving.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The power or act which directs or impels to effort of any kind, whether muscular or psychical.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The power or act which directs or impels to effort of any kind, whether muscular or psychical.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An endeavor or attempt.
  • n. In psychology, voluntary agency, embracing desire and volition.
  • n. In sociology, social effort, especially that put forth by a community to transform its environment.


Latin cōnātiō, cōnātiōn-, effort, from cōnātus, past participle of cōnārī, to try.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin conatio ("an act of attempting") (Wiktionary)


  • Adulthood is often referred to as the point of conation.

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  • This can, of course be considered either a specific acceptance, or the more general and important aspect of human maturation called “conation”—the acceptance of responsibility.

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  • Especially pp. 111-115 on ˜pro-attitudes™, including pleasure, as explanatory (i.e., involving conation of various kinds, as it seems) and pp. 127-32 on enjoyment.


  • Accordingly our definition of desire becomes ‘conation-for-the-pleasant’: for the word ‘desire’ is the exact equivalent of the words


  • For often those who exhibit the conation do not perceive what is good or pleasant, so that their aim need not be really good or pleasant, but only apparently so.


  • Moreover, in the case of conations, and in any other cases where it applies, see if the word ‘apparent’ is left out, e.g. ‘wishing is a conation after the good’, or


  • [241] Here I am thinking of will in such a way that it includes not only decision and choice (the executive function of will) but also loves and hates, desire and conation (the affective function of will).

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  • HILGARD, E. R. The trilogy of mind: Cognition, affection, and conation.

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  • An alien brain, or a cybernetic one like Jaccavrie's, could think; it was aware; it had conation.


  • I suspect what he does is almost instantly to analyze the pattern, identify universals of logic and conation, go on from there to reconstruct the whole mental configuration-as if his nervous system included not only sensitivity to the radiation of others, but an organic semantic computer fantastically beyond anything that Technic civilization has built.

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