v. con·ceived, con·ceiv·ing, con·ceives
1. To become pregnant with (offspring): She conceived her first child in London, but her second child was conceived in Paris.
2. To form or develop in the mind: conceive a plan to increase profits; conceive a passion for a new acquaintance.
3. To apprehend mentally; understand: couldn't conceive the meaning of that sentence.
4. To be of the opinion that; think: didn't conceive that such a tragedy could occur.
5. To begin or originate in a specific way: a political movement that was conceived in the ferment of the 1960s.
1. To form or hold an idea: Ancient peoples conceived of the earth as flat.
2. To become pregnant.
[Middle English conceiven, from Old French concevoir, conceiv-, from Latin concipere : com-, intensive pref.; see COM- + capere, to take; see kap- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
con·ceiv′a·bili·ty, con·ceiva·ble·ness n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.