Open main menu


Alternative formsEdit


From Middle English conceiven, borrowed from Old French concevoir, conceveir, from Latin concipiō, concipere (to take), from con- (together) + capiō (to take). Compare deceive, perceive, receive.


  • IPA(key): /kənˈsiːv/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːv


conceive (third-person singular simple present conceives, present participle conceiving, simple past and past participle conceived)

  1. (transitive) To develop an idea; to form in the mind; to plan; to devise; to originate.
    • 1606, Antony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare, II-4
      We shall, / As I conceive the journey, be at the Mount / Before you, Lepidus.
    • Gibbon
      It was among the ruins of the Capitol that I first conceived the idea of a work which has amused and exercised near twenty years of my life.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 3, in The Celebrity:
      Now all this was very fine, but not at all in keeping with the Celebrity's character as I had come to conceive it. The idea that adulation ever cloyed on him was ludicrous in itself. In fact I thought the whole story fishy, and came very near to saying so.
  2. (transitive) To understand (someone).
    • Nathaniel Hawthorne
      I conceive you.
    • Jonathan Swift
      You will hardly conceive him to have been bred in the same climate.
  3. (intransitive or transitive) To become pregnant (with).
    Assisted procreation can help those trying to conceive.
    • Bible, Luke i. 36
      She hath also conceived a son in her old age.

Related termsEdit


Further readingEdit