Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Unduly favorable estimation of one's own abilities or worth; overly positive self-regard.
  • noun Archaic Estimation or opinion of something, especially when favorable.
  • noun A witty expression or fanciful idea.
  • noun A fanciful poetic image, especially an elaborate or exaggerated comparison.
  • noun Obsolete The result of intellectual activity; a thought or an opinion.
  • noun A decorative article; a knickknack.
  • noun An extravagant, fanciful, and elaborate construction or structure.
  • transitive verb Chiefly British To take a fancy to.
  • transitive verb Obsolete To understand; conceive.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To conceive; imagine; think; suppose; form an idea of.
  • Reflexively, to imagine; fancy; think; believe: implying error.
  • To cause to imagine.
  • To form a notion; have an opinion; conceive.
  • noun That which is conceived, imagined, or formed in the mind; conception; idea; thought; image.
  • noun The faculty of conceiving; understanding; apprehension.
  • noun Opinion; estimation; view or belief.
  • noun An undue opinion; a baseless fancy; a crotchety notion.
  • noun An exaggerated estimate of one's own mental ability, or of the importance or value of what one has done; an overvaluation of one's own acuteness, wit, learning, etc.; self-conceit: as, a man inflated with conceit.
  • noun A witty, happy, or ingenious thought or expression; a quaint or humorous fancy; wit; humor; ingenuity; especially, in modern usage, a quaint or odd thought; a thought or expression intended to be striking or poetical, but rather far-fetched, insipid, or pedantic.
  • noun A fanciful or ingenious device or invention.
  • noun A trifle; a dainty; a kickshaw.
  • noun Synonyms Vagary, whim, illusion.
  • noun Pride, Vanity, etc. (see egotism), self-sufficiency, self-complacency.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb Archaic To conceive; to imagine.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To form an idea; to think.
  • noun That which is conceived, imagined, or formed in the mind; idea; thought; image; conception.
  • noun obsolete Faculty of conceiving ideas; mental faculty; apprehension.
  • noun Quickness of apprehension; active imagination; lively fancy.
  • noun A fanciful, odd, or extravagant notion; a quant fancy; an unnatural or affected conception; a witty thought or turn of expression; a fanciful device; a whim; a quip.
  • noun An overweening idea of one's self; vanity.
  • noun obsolete Design; pattern.
  • noun in accord with; agreeing or conforming.
  • noun not having a favorable opinion of; not pleased with; as, a man is out of conceit with his dress.
  • noun to make one indifferent to a thing, or in a degree displeased with it.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb obsolete To form an idea; to think.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an artistic device or effect
  • noun the trait of being unduly vain and conceited; false pride
  • noun feelings of excessive pride
  • noun a witty or ingenious turn of phrase
  • noun an elaborate poetic image or a far-fetched comparison of very dissimilar things

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, mind, conception, from Anglo-Norman conceite, from Late Latin conceptus; see concept.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Apparently formed from conceive, by analogy with deceive/deceit, receive/receipt etc.

Examples

  • His persons, however distressed, _have a conceit left them in their misery, a miserable conceit_.

    Notes to Shakespeare, Volume III: The Tragedies

  • This would be true by definition; just as the investigation and explication of the conceit is what defines the process as fabulation, the source and nature of the main conceit (s) is what defines the process as scientific.

    Archive 2005-12-01

  • This would be true by definition; just as the investigation and explication of the conceit is what defines the process as fabulation, the source and nature of the main conceit (s) is what defines the process as scientific.

    SF Considered As A Subset Of SF

  • If it's all strange fiction, if a conceit is a conceit (and can be explained, excused or exploited) regardless of whether it's counterfactual, hypothetical or metaphysical, we have problems, I think, in sticking to Suvin's term "novum".

    Strange Fiction 9

  • If it's all strange fiction, if a conceit is a conceit (and can be explained, excused or exploited) regardless of whether it's counterfactual, hypothetical or metaphysical, we have problems, I think, in sticking to Suvin's term "novum".

    Archive 2006-09-01

  • The series may not solve the problems raised by the buzzy documentary "Waiting for 'Superman,'" but its reality-show conceit is kinder and gentler than most.

    A Guide to This Week

  • The connecting conceit is that Guard Mice at a tavern are telling tales to outdo one another.

    Mouse Guard Spins off Legends of the Guard » Comics Worth Reading

  • This time the conceit is that when rival teams of astronauts head into space to prevent the impending cataclysm they discover alien forces on the satellite.

    David S. Goyer: Sci-fi Author? – Collider.com

  • The conceit is an implicit narrative of subtext: the quirk “would have happened” or “would happen” in the case of these developments taking place.

    Archive 2009-06-01

  • The modern conceit is that ‘myself’ can be used as subject, direct and indirect object.

    The Burlington Township S.D. response on the ObamaHymn (Copy-edited.) - Moe_Lane’s blog - RedState

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