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

  1. to form (a notion, opinion, purpose, etc.): He conceived the project while he was on vacation.
  2. to form a notion or idea of; imagine.
  3. to hold as an opinion; think; believe: I can’t conceive that it would be of any use.
  4. to experience or form (a feeling): to conceive a great love for music.
  5. to express, as in words.
  6. to become pregnant with.
  7. to beget.
  8. to begin, originate, or found (something) in a particular way (usually used in the passive): a new nation conceived in liberty.
  9. Archaic. to understand; comprehend.

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

  1. to form an idea; think (usually followed by of).
  2. to become pregnant.


  1. (when intr, foll by of; when tr, often takes a clause as object) to have an idea (of); imagine; think
  2. (tr; takes a clause as object or an infinitive) to hold as an opinion; believe
  3. (tr) to develop or form, esp in the mindshe conceived a passion for music
  4. to become pregnant with (young)
  5. (tr) rare to express in words

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.


  1. To become pregnant.
  2. To apprehend mentally; to understand.
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