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Conceit, subst. 1) conception, idea, image in the mind: “the c. of this inconstant stay sets you most rich in youth before my mind,” Sonn. 15, 9. 26, 7. “finding the first c. of love there bred, where time and outward form would show it dead,” 108, 13. “passing all c.” Pilgr. 110. “the good c. I hold of thee,” Gentl. III, 2, 17. “I am press'd down with c.” Err. IV, 2, 65. if he be so (jealous) “his c. is false,” Ado II, 1, 309. “you have a noble and a true c. of god-like amity,” Merch. III, 4, 2. “thy c. is nearer death than thy powers,” As II, 6, 8. “take up my mistress' gown for thy master's use. what's your c. in that?” Shr. IV, 3, 162. “with mere c. and fear of the queen's speed,” Wint. III, 2, 145. “'tis nothing but c.” R2 II, 2, 33. “infusing him with self and vain c.” III, 2, 166. “there's some c. or other likes him well,” R3 III, 4, 51. “the fair c. the king hath of you,” H8 II, 3, 74. “c., more rich in matter than in words,” Rom. II, 6, 30. “the horrible c. of death and night,” IV, 3, 37. “when thy first griefs were but a mere c.” Tim. V, 4, 14. “could force his soul so to his own c.” Hml. II, 2, 579. “his whole function suiting with forms to his c.” Hml. II, 2, 579 “c. in weakest bodies strongest works,” III, 4, 114.*“c. may rob the treasury of life,” Lr. IV, 6, 42. “hadst shut up in thy brain some horrible c.” Oth. III, 3, 115. “dangerous --s are poisons,” Oth. III, 3, 115 “cannot remove the strong c. that I do groan withal,” V, 2, 55 (Q1; the rest of O. Edd. conception).
2) fanciful thought or device, invention: “let it be as humours and --s shall govern,” Merch. III, 5, 69. “she would applaud Andronicus' c.” Tit. IV, 2, 30. “most delicate carriages, and of very liberal c.” Hml. V, 2, 160. cf. “c. deceitful, so compact, so kind,” Lucr. 1423. “though he seem with forged quaint c. to set a gloss upon his bold intent,” H6A IV, 1, 102. Singular use: “c. upon her father,” Hml. IV, 5, 45.*“rings, gawds, --s,” Mids. I, 1, 33 (i. e. presents fancifully devised. cf. device in Compl. 232).
3) mental faculty, comprising the understanding as well as the imagination: “deeper sin than bottomless c. can comprehend in still imagination,” Lucr. 701. c. and grief an eager combat fight etc. Lucr. 701 “unripe years did want c.” Pilgr. 51. Spenser, whose deep c. is such etc. Pilgr. 51 “lay open to my earthy gross c. the folded meaning,” Err. III, 2, 34. “his fair tongue, --'s expositor,” LLL II, 72. “a good lustre of c. in a tuft of earth,” IV, 2, 90. “their --s have wings,” V, 2, 260. “cut me to pieces with thy keen c.” V, 2, 260 “drest in an opinion of wisdom, gravity, profound c.” Merch. I, 1, 92. “thy c. is soaking, will draw in more than the common blocks,” Wint. I, 2, 224. “make reply without a tongue, using c. alone,” John III, 3, 50. “there's no more c. in him than is in a mallet,” H4B II, 4, 263. “enticing lines, able to ravish any dull c.” H6A V, 5, 15. “a strutting player, whose c. lies in his hamstring,” Troil. I, 3, 153. who (the child) “if it had c., would die,” Per. III, 1, 16.
4) extraction, birth? (cf. conceive). Rosalind, in order to convince Orlando of her pretended knowledge of mysteries, says to him: “I know you are a gentleman of good c.” As V, 2, 59. This cannot be == a gentleman of good parts, of wit; for 'there needs no magician to tell him this.'
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