a. Formation of a viable zygote by the union of the male sperm and female ovum; fertilization.
b. The entity formed by the union of the male sperm and female ovum; an embryo or zygote.
a. The ability to form or understand mental concepts and abstractions: happiness beyond conception.
b. Something conceived in the mind or believed by a group of people; a concept, thought, or belief: the medieval conception of justice. See Synonyms at idea.
c. The beginning or formation of an idea or plan: She was involved in the project from its conception.
[Middle English concepcioun, from Old French conception, from Latin conceptiō, conceptiōn-, from conceptus; see CONCEPT.]
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.