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conceit

[kuh n-seet] /kənˈsit/
noun
1.
an excessively favorable opinion of one's own ability, importance, wit, etc.
2.
something that is conceived in the mind; a thought; idea:
He jotted down the conceits of his idle hours.
3.
imagination; fancy.
4.
a fancy; whim; fanciful notion.
5.
an elaborate, fanciful metaphor, especially of a strained or far-fetched nature.
6.
the use of such metaphors as a literary characteristic, especially in poetry.
7.
a fancy, purely decorative article.
8.
British Dialect.
  1. favorable opinion; esteem.
  2. personal opinion or estimation.
9.
Obsolete. the faculty of conceiving; apprehension.
verb (used with object)
10.
to flatter (especially oneself).
11.
British Dialect. to take a fancy to; have a good opinion of.
12.
Obsolete.
  1. to imagine.
  2. to conceive; apprehend.
Idioms
13.
out of conceit with, displeased or dissatisfied with.
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English conceyte, conceipt, derivative of conceive by analogy with deceive, deceit and receive, receipt; compare Anglo-French conceite; see concept
Synonyms
1. self-esteem, vanity, egotism, complacency. See pride.
Antonyms
1. humility.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for conceits
  • One of the great conceits of both the book and the movie is that the event is never actually depicted.
  • It was pleasing to their political conceits to imagine that science backed up their preferences.
  • Eh, well, seldom do mans conceits deflate with grace.
  • Beauty is skin deep and so are the conceits in this high concept, low content comedy.
  • Graphic designers were commissioned to create graphic auras that suggested exclusivity through various tropes and conceits.
  • Moreover, he helped to free me from many conceits and pettinesses to which academical culture is liable.
  • To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world.
  • Any science fiction show is allowed a couple of conceits.
  • There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world.
  • They want ideas that allow them to dominate others, the kinds of conceits that let them lord themselves over their peers.
British Dictionary definitions for conceits

conceit

/kənˈsiːt/
noun
1.
a high, often exaggerated, opinion of oneself or one's accomplishments; vanity
2.
(literary) an elaborate image or far-fetched comparison, esp as used by the English Metaphysical poets
3.
(archaic)
  1. a witty expression
  2. fancy; imagination
  3. an idea
4.
(obsolete) a small ornament
verb (transitive)
5.
(Northern English, dialect) to like or be able to bear (something, such as food or drink)
6.
(obsolete) to think or imagine
Word Origin
C14: from conceive
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for conceits

conceit

n.

late 14c., "something formed in the mind, thought, notion," from conceiven (see conceive) based on analogy of deceit and receipt. Sense evolved from "something formed in the mind," to "fanciful or witty notion" (1510s), to "vanity" (c.1600) through shortening of self-conceit (1580s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for conceits

conceit

figure of speech, usually a simile or metaphor, that forms an extremely ingenious or fanciful parallel between apparently dissimilar or incongruous objects or situations. The Petrarchan conceit, which was especially popular with Renaissance writers of sonnets, is a hyperbolic comparison made generally by a suffering lover of his beautiful and cruel mistress to some physical object-e.g., a tomb, the ocean, the sun. The metaphysical conceit, associated with the Metaphysical poets of the 17th century, is a more intricate and intellectual device. It usually sets up an analogy between one entity's spiritual qualities and an object in the physical world and sometimes controls the whole structure of the poem. For example, in the following stanzas from "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning," John Donne compares two lovers' souls to a draftsman's compass:If they be two, they are two soAs stiffe twin compasses are two,Thy soule the fixt foot, makes no showTo move, but doth, if the'other doe.And though it in the center sit,Yet when the other far doth rome,It leanes, and hearkens after it,And growes erect, as that comes home

Learn more about conceit with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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