Entertainment / Literature / Conceit: (also called a metaphysical conceit) An elaborate or unusual comparison--especially one using unlikely metaphors, simile, hyperbole, and contradiction. Before the beginning of the seventeenth century, the term conceit was a synonym for 'thought' and roughly equivalent to 'idea' or 'concept.' It gradually came to denote a fanciful idea or a particularly clever remark. In literary terms, the word denotes a fairly elaborate figure of speech, especially an extended comparison involving unlikely metaphors, similes, imagery, hyperbole, and oxymora. One of the most famous conceits is John Donne's 'A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning,' a poem in which Donne compares two souls in love to the points on a geometer's compass. Shakespeare also uses conceits regularly in his poetry. In Richard II, Shakespeare compares two kings competing for power to two buckets in a well, for instance. A conceit is usually classified as a subtype of metaphor. Contrast with epic simile and dyfalu.

Other Words for Conceit

Conceit Verb Synonyms: vanity, pride, egotism, self-esteem, self-admiration, self-love, narcissism, vainglory, amour propre, arrogance
Conceit Noun Synonyms: fancy, whim, caprice

Petrarchan Conceit

Entertainment / Literature / Petrarchan Conceit: A conceit used by the Italian poet Petrarch or similar to those he used. In the Renaissance, English poets were quite taken with Petrarch's conceits and recycled them in their own poetry. Examples inc MORE


Entertainment / Literature / Dyfalu: A Welsh term for a form of fanciful conceit in which a string of sequential metaphors compares an object to a number of diverse things--often using compound words in a manner similar to the Anglo-Saxo MORE


Entertainment / Literature / Cywydd: (plural, cywyddau) A fourteenth-century metrical form of Welsh lyric poetry consisting of rhyming couplets with each line having seven syllables. Traditionally, in each couplet, the lines end with alt MORE