Conceit Understanding: Definition, Examples, Avoidance
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 5 min read


  1. What is Conceit?
  2. Examples of Conceit
  3. How to Identify Conceit
  4. Impact of Conceit on Relationships
  5. How to Avoid Conceit

Diving into the world of self-perception, there's a term that often pops up—conceit. Unpacking the definition of conceit is a lot like opening a layered gift. It's intriguing, occasionally puzzling, and can even provide a few surprises. Let's journey together and unwrap the meaning of conceit, its impact, and how to sidestep any pitfalls it may present.

What is Conceit?

If you've ever been intrigued by the concept of conceit, you're not alone. It's a term that's often misunderstood. So, let's start at the beginning with a straightforward and accessible definition of conceit.

The Basic Definition

At its core, the definition of conceit revolves around two main aspects. First, it's about having excessive pride or admiration for oneself. It's like looking in the mirror and thinking you're the fairest of them all—every single time. Second, in literature, it's a complex, surprising metaphor that draws a unique comparison between two things.

Two Sides of the Same Coin

As you can see, the definition of conceit has two distinct parts—self-perception and literature. It's a bit like having a coin with two different sides. One side shows an inflated sense of self-worth, while the other side presents a creative literary device. Both are part of the same concept—conceit.

From Vanity to Metaphor

From the realm of ego to the world of words, conceit spans a wide spectrum. On one end, it encapsulates ideas like vanity, self-admiration, and egotism. Think of it as someone who's a tad too pleased with themselves. On the other end, it's about using the power of language to craft intricate metaphors, bringing a sense of depth and nuance to writing.

Unpacking Conceit

At this point, you might be thinking, "Okay, I get the basic definition of conceit, but how does it all come together?" That's a great question! Think of conceit as a suitcase packed with different items, each representing a facet of its definition. From self-love to elaborate metaphors, the suitcase of conceit carries them all. The key is understanding how to unpack it and make sense of its contents.

Now that we've explored the definition of conceit, we're ready to dive into some vivid examples in the next section. Stay tuned, as we continue to unravel this intriguing concept!

Examples of Conceit

Having understood the definition of conceit, it's time to bring it to life with some real-world examples. We'll look at both sides of the conceit coin, starting with examples of conceit in individuals and then moving onto literary examples.

Conceit in People

Ever met someone who considers themselves the smartest person in the room—always? That's conceit in action. Here are a few more examples:

  • Overconfidence: Jack believes he's the best basketball player in school, despite never having made the team.
  • Self-admiration: Jill spends hours admiring her reflection, convinced she's the most beautiful girl in town.
  • Superiority: John thinks he's superior to his peers, often dismissing their ideas without consideration.

Conceit in Literature

When it comes to literature, conceit offers a twist. It's all about creating unexpected comparisons. Below are examples from renowned works:

  • John Donne's "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning": Donne compares two lovers to the legs of a compass, an unusual but profound metaphor.
  • Emily Dickinson's "Hope is the thing with feathers": Here, hope is compared to a bird that perches in the soul, a beautiful and imaginative metaphor.
  • William Shakespeare's "Sonnet 18": The speaker compares his beloved to a summer's day, a classic example of conceit in literature.

There you have it—examples of conceit from both real life and the literary world! Always remember: conceit isn't just about inflated self-worth; it's also a creative tool for writers. Up next, we'll figure out how to spot conceit, so stick around!

How to Identify Conceit

Now that we've learned the definition of conceit and seen some examples, let's learn how to identify it. This can be a tricky task, especially when dealing with people who are experts at masking their conceit. But don't worry, we'll break it down for you.

Spotting Conceit in People

Here are some signs you can look out for:

  • Constant bragging: A person who always talks about their achievements, without showing interest in others, might be conceited.
  • Ignoring criticism: If someone disregards constructive feedback and remains stuck in their ways, they could be displaying conceit.
  • Always needing to be right: Someone persistently arguing their point, even when evidence suggests otherwise, might be a sign of conceit.

Identifying Conceit in Literature

In literature, conceit can be identified by looking for unusual or surprising comparisons. Here are some things to watch out for:

  • Unexpected metaphors: If a writer compares two things that seem drastically different, they're likely using conceit.
  • Extended comparisons: A metaphor that is continued over several lines or throughout the entire piece is often an example of conceit.

Now you have a basic toolkit for identifying conceit, both in people and in literature. Next, we'll explore how this trait can impact relationships, so keep reading!

Impact of Conceit on Relationships

Let's dive into how the trait of conceit, now that we've defined it, can affect relationships. It's safe to say that conceit doesn't exactly make for a healthy dynamic. But why is that? Let's explore.

Strain on Communication

Conceit often leads to one-sided conversations. Here's how:

  • Monopolizing discussions: A person who's conceited often dominates conversations, leaving little room for others to share their thoughts.
  • Dismissing others' opinions: Conceit can lead a person to disregard the views of others, leading to feelings of frustration and resentment.

Impact on Trust

Trust is a key pillar of any relationship, and here's how conceit can undermine it:

  • Lack of empathy: Conceited individuals may find it hard to empathize with others' feelings, making it difficult for trust to grow.
  • Reliability issues: A person with conceit may prioritize their own needs over commitments made to others, leading to trust issues.

So, it's clear that conceit can put a significant strain on relationships. But don't worry, in the next section, we'll look at how you can avoid falling into the trap of conceit.

How to Avoid Conceit

Now that we've explored the definition of conceit and its potential impact on relationships, let's discuss some practical steps you can take to avoid becoming conceited. It's not always easy, but with a bit of effort, you can ensure your self-confidence doesn't tip over into conceit.

Practice Active Listening

Active listening is a key skill that can help you avoid coming across as conceited. Here's why:

  • Enhances understanding: By truly listening to what others are saying, you're not only showing respect, but also gaining a wider perspective.
  • Encourages open dialogue: When people see that you value their opinions, they're more likely to engage in open and honest discussions with you.

Develop Empathy

Empathy is another crucial aspect to consider. Here's how it helps:

  • Connects with others: By understanding and sharing the feelings of others, you can build stronger, more meaningful relationships.
  • Reduces self-focus: Focusing on others' feelings can help you avoid becoming too wrapped up in your own world.

Remember, no one is perfect—we all have moments of conceit. But by practicing active listening and developing empathy, you can ensure that those moments are the exception and not the rule. Stay tuned for more tips on how to navigate the complex world of interpersonal relationships.

If you're interested in further exploring the concept of conceit and its role in creative work, we recommend checking out the workshop 'From Dream to Reality: The Magic of Concept-Art' by Hope Christofferson. This workshop will not only help you understand the importance of avoiding conceit in your work, but also guide you in transforming your creative ideas into tangible projects.