Etymology: Middle English, to acquire, conquer, from Anglo-French conquerre, from Vulgar Latin *conquaerere, alteration of Latin conquirere to search for, collect, from com- + quaerere to ask, search
Date: 14th century
1. to gain or acquire by force of arms ; subjugate <conquer territory> 2. to overcome by force of arms ; vanquish <conquered the enemy> 3. to gain mastery over or win by overcoming obstacles or opposition <conquered the mountain> 4. to overcome by mental or moral power ; surmount <conquered her fear> intransitive verb to be victorious • conqueror noun Synonyms: conquer, vanquish, defeat, subdue, reduce, overcome, overthrow mean to get the better of by force or strategy. conquer implies gaining mastery of <Caesar conquered Gaul>. vanquish implies a complete overpowering <vanquished the enemy and ended the war>. defeat does not imply the finality or completeness of vanquish which it otherwise equals <the Confederates defeated the Union forces at Manassas>. subdue implies a defeating and suppression <subdued the native tribes after years of fighting>. reduce implies a forcing to capitulate or surrender <the city was reduced after a month-long siege>. overcome suggests getting the better of with difficulty or after hard struggle <overcame a host of bureaucratic roadblocks>. overthrow stresses the bringing down or destruction of existing power <violently overthrew the old regime>.
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.