Monday, November 22, 2021

Vocabulary Builder: conceive and concept

Click to see Vol. I, Issue 4 of the newsletter in which this article first appeared.

The words conceive and concept have a close relationship going back to Latin concipere and conceptum, both of which are based on words meaning "to seize" or "to take in fully."


conceive (verb): to form something--an idea or a purpose (but also a baby!); imagine, believe, become pregnant with

concept (noun): something which has been conceived; a notion, idea, 

I have mixed the derived words; an equal sign (=) means the words are near-perfect synonyms (i.e., they have the same meaning and usage).

  • Verb Forms: conceive=conceptualize; conceives=conceptualizes; conceived=conceptualized; conceiving=conceptualizing (but we never use the "conceptualize" forms for making a baby)
  • Noun Forms:
    • concept (plural concepts)=conception (plural conceptions): "We're looking forward to hearing your concept for the new building." ("Conception" is also the act of making a baby: "at the moment of conception.")
    • conceptualization (plural conceptualizations): the act or process of forming a concept: "We're behind schedule; the conceptualization of the new building is taking too long."
  • Adjective forms:
    • conceivable: imaginable: "We're taking every conceivable precaution."
    • inconceivable: unimaginable: "The cost of the new building is inconceivable."
    • conceptual: relating to a concept: "We're looking forward to seeing your conceptual drawings."
  • Adverb forms:
    • conceptually: relating to a concept, in front of an adjective: "The plan is conceptually impossible." (That is, the concept won't work.)
    • conceivably: able to be imagined: "The costs could conceivably run into the millions."
    • inconceivably: unable to be imagined: "The plan is inconceivably expensive."


Place the correct form of "conceive" or "concept" in each sentence. Correct answers are in the first comment below.

  1. There is no ________ way we can finish this project on time.
  2. We might be finished soon, ________ by Christmas.
  3. I'm trying to ________ a way to do this more cheaply.
  4. He ________ the solution when the rest of us were still thinking about it.
  5. If she ________ a new plan, let me know, will you?
  6. They had trouble ________, so they decided to adopt.
  7. I'm sorry, my ________ of the project is still unclear.
  8. The ________ framework for the project is almost completed.
  9. We need to hire a new architect; this one's ________ of the new building has been going on for months.
  10. The new building's systems are ________ innovative.
  11. That sort of rudeness in a formal situation is ________.
  12. Our new boss is ________ intelligent.

  1. conceive=conceptualize
  2. conceives=conceptualizes
  3. conceived=conceptualized
  4. conceiving
  5. concept=conception
  6. conceptualization
  7. conceivable
  8. inconceivable
  9. conceptual
  10. conceptually
  11. conceivably
  12. inconceivably

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. G; 2. K; 3. A; 4. C; 5. B; 6. D; 7. E; 8. I; 9. F; 10. J; 11. H; 12. L