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What is the past tense word of the word concept? In MS Outlook, I used this sentence and it's complaining to me.

The peer tool was initially concepted in 2006 for Dr. T.

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Personally, I find concepted for conceived about as much fun as incentivize for motivate. It feels pretentious and bogus, like somebody was full of themself. – tchrist Feb 24 '12 at 1:09
To quote from Calvin: "Verbing weirds language." – thursdaysgeek Feb 24 '12 at 1:35
I'm a native English speaker, and without context, would have no idea what you were trying to say here. – TRiG Feb 26 '12 at 17:33
up vote 21 down vote accepted

The verb form is originally conceive.

conceive (third-person singular simple present conceives, present participle conceiving, simple past and past participle conceived)
-(transitive) To develop an idea.
-(transitive) To understand someone.
-(intransitive or transitive) To become pregnant.

The word you want to use is


as in

The peer tool was initially conceived in 2006.

Conceptualize is often regarded as corporate-speak, so it may or may not be appropriate in all contexts, but it has been around since the late 19th century.

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Thanks @Mitch for the explanation – Mark Beadles Feb 23 '12 at 21:07

Concept is a noun, not a verb. What you're looking for is conceptualize; and thus:

The peer tool was initially conceptualized in 2006.

As the Wiktionary says about conceptualize:


  1. To interpret a phenomenon by forming a concept
  2. To conceive the idea for something
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Ah...Thank you so much! – Robert Feb 23 '12 at 20:26
Does "conceptualize" have any advantage at all over "conceive"? – Russell Borogove Feb 23 '12 at 22:23

All existing answers seem to restrict themselves to pointing out that concept is a noun, and that the "correct" verb form is to conceive, but clearly OP's usage is an instance of verbification (or verbing) - the creation of a verb from a noun, adjective or other word.

In this specific case, the past tense is concepted, as shown by over 3000 written instances in Google Books. The general rule for almost all verbs created by this process is that they will be regular verbs (they will adopt -s, -ed, -ing to form singular present tense, past tense, and present participle). This is because irregular verbs are on the wane, and new irregular forms appear only infrequently.

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That's interesting from a theoretical viewpoint, but in practical terms it may not be best to advise the questioner to use the form "concepted". Google Ngrams show that "conceptualized" is indeed gaining on "conceived", but "concepted" is quite rare indeed. If the questioner wants to be understood without stigma, he would be best advised to use one of the other choices at present. – Mark Beadles Feb 23 '12 at 21:42
@Mark Beadles: ELU seems not to have a coherent position on whether its primary purpose is to explore the more subtle aspects of English usage, or to act as a "study aid" to help non-native speakers learn the rudiments. My answer does at least obliquely acknowledge the latter, but I really think the site is drifting rapidly "downmarket". – FumbleFingers Feb 23 '12 at 21:59
@FumbleFingers ELU is definitely a lot more of an ESL site than it was a year ago. I don’t know what to do about it. It’s probably some deep moral failure on my part that I even let that bother me. But it does. Seems to me this comes up on meta. – tchrist Feb 23 '12 at 23:44
@tchrist: Well, I'm sure nohat is as literate as anybody here, but he seems to feel penultimate is too obscure for our current visitor profile. And nohat is a mod, so I imagine what he thinks has more influence than thee and me! – FumbleFingers Feb 24 '12 at 0:30
@FumbleFingers I actually think of penultimate of as a perfectly normal word. The problem is that it doesn’t work to translate penúltimo from PT or ES to it, because there is has a common register but in EN it has an elevated one. But I also thought we weren’t here to do translations, so I dunno. We spend all our time answering, or closing, really really dumb questions that anybody could have and should have looked up on their own, or else are a bunch of South Asians trying to get their non-standard dialectal variations validated as standard English. Seems a waste. – tchrist Feb 24 '12 at 1:07

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