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Conceit Definition

An elaborate and complicated metaphor. An early exponent of conceits was the 14th Century Italian poet Petrarch. The Petrarchan conceit was imitated by many Elizabethan poets including Shakespeare. Conceits were also used extensively by the metaphysical poets. John Donne famously compared two lovers to a pair of compasses in his poem A Valediction: forbidding Mourning.

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Other Conceit Definition

[n] the trait of being vain and conceited
[n] feelings of excessive pride

Misc. Definitions

\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; idea; thought; image; conception. In laughing, there ever procedeth a conceit of somewhat ridiculous. --Bacon. A man wise in his own conceit. --Prov. xxvi. 1
2. Faculty of conceiving ideas; mental faculty; apprehension; as, a man of quick conceit. [Obs.] How often, alas! did her eyes say unto me that they loved! and yet I, not looking for such a matter, had not my conceit open to understand them. --Sir P. Sidney.
3. Quickness of apprehension; active imagination; lively fancy. His wit's as thick as Tewksbury mustard; there's more conceit in him than is in a mallet. --Shak.
4. A fanciful, odd, or extravagant notion; a quant fancy; an unnatural or affected conception; a witty thought or turn of expression; a fanciful device; a whim; a quip. On his way to the gibbet, a freak took him in the head to go off with a conceit. --L'Estrange. Some to conceit alone their works confine, And glittering thoughts struck out at every line. --Pope. Tasso is full of conceits . . . which are not only below the dignity of heroic verse but contrary to its nature. --Dryden.
5. An overweening idea of one's self; vanity. Plumed with conceit he calls aloud. --Cotton.
6. Design; pattern. [Obs.] --Shak. {In conceit with}, in accord with; agreeing or conforming. {Out of conceit with}, not having a favorable opinion of; not pleased with; as, a man is out of conceit with his dress. {To put [one] out of conceit with}, to make one indifferent to a thing, or in a degree displeased with it.
\Con*ceit"\, v. t. To conceive; to imagine. [Archaic] The strong, by conceiting themselves weak, are therebly rendered as inactive . . . as if they really were so. --South. One of two bad ways you must conceit me, Either a coward or a flatterer. --Shak.
\Con*ceit"\, v. i. To form an idea; to think. [Obs.] Those whose . . . vulgar apprehensions conceit but low of matrimonial purposes. --Milton.

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