conceit


conceit
/keuhn seet"/, n.
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, esp. of a strained or far-fetched nature.
6. the use of such metaphors as a literary characteristic, esp. in poetry.
7. a fancy, purely decorative article.
8. Brit. Dial.
a. favorable opinion; esteem.
b. personal opinion or estimation.
9. Obs. the faculty of conceiving; apprehension.
10. out of conceit with, displeased or dissatisfied with.
v.t.
11. to flatter (esp. oneself).
12. Brit. Dial. to take a fancy to; have a good opinion of.
13. Obs.
a. to imagine.
b. to conceive; apprehend.
[1350-1400; ME conceyte, conceipt, deriv. of CONCEIVE by analogy with DECEIVE, DECEIT and RECEIVE, RECEIPT; cf. AF conceite; see CONCEPT]
Syn. 1. self-esteem, vanity, egotism, complacency. See pride.
Ant. 1. humility.

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      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 (Donne, John) compares two lovers' souls to a draftsman's compass:

If they be two, they are two so
As stiffe twin compasses are two,
Thy soule the fixt foot, makes no show
To 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.

      Conceits often were so farfetched as to become absurd, degenerating in the hands of lesser poets into strained ornamentation. With the advent of Romanticism they fell into disfavour along with other poetic artifices. In the late 19th century they were revived by the French Symbolists and are commonly found, although in brief and condensed form, in the works of such modern poets as Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, and Ezra Pound.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Conceit — Con*ceit , n. [Through French, fr. L. conceptus a conceiving, conception, fr. concipere to conceive: cf. OF. p. p. nom. conciez conceived. See {Conceive}, and cf. {Concept}, {Deceit}.] 1. That which is conceived, imagined, or formed in the mind;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • conceit — 1 Conceit, egotism, egoism, self esteem, self love, amour propre mean an attitude of regarding oneself with favor. Conceit implies a conviction of superiority in one or more lines of achievement or an overweeningly favorable opinion of one s… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Conceit — Con*ceit , v. t. To conceive; to imagine. [Archaic] [1913 Webster] The strong, by conceiting themselves weak, are therebly rendered as inactive . . . as if they really were so. South. [1913 Webster] One of two bad ways you must conceit me, Either …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Conceit — Con*ceit , v. i. To form an idea; to think. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Those whose . . . vulgar apprehensions conceit but low of matrimonial purposes. Milton. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • conceit — (n.) late 14c., something formed in the mind, thought, notion, from conceiven (see CONCEIVE (Cf. 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 …   Etymology dictionary

  • conceit — index idea, jactation Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • conceit — [n] egotism amour propre, arrogance, complacence, complacency, consequence, immodesty, narcissism, outrecuidance, pomposity, pride, self admiration, self exaltation, selfimportance, self love, self regard, smugness, snottiness, stuffiness,… …   New thesaurus

  • conceit — ► NOUN 1) excessive pride in oneself. 2) an elaborate metaphor or artistic effect. 3) a fanciful notion. ORIGIN from CONCEIVE(Cf. ↑conceive) …   English terms dictionary

  • conceit — [kən sēt′] n. [ME conceite < conceiven,CONCEIVE] 1. Obs. a) an idea; thought; concept b) personal opinion 2. an exaggerated opinion of oneself, one s merits, etc.; vanity 3. [< It concetto, of same ult. orig.] …   English World dictionary

  • Conceit — For other uses, see Conceit (disambiguation). In literature, a conceit[1] is an extended metaphor with a complex logic that governs a poetic passage or entire poem. By juxtaposing, usurping and manipulating images and ideas in surprising ways, a… …   Wikipedia

  • conceit — [[t]kənsi͟ːt[/t]] conceits 1) N UNCOUNT: also a N (disapproval) Conceit is very great pride in your abilities or achievements that other people feel is too great. He knew, without conceit, he was considered a genius... Pamela knew she was a good… …   English dictionary


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