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Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin conquaesitus, alteration of Latin conquisitus, past participle of conquirere

The original sense in med.L. and F. was ‘acquisition, esp. as the result of effort’; including getting by force of arms as well as by other means. Hence two lines of development: first, with the feudal jurists ‘personal acquisition of estate, as opposed to inheritance’, without specific reference to the mode, whether by force of arms, by grant, or (in later times) by money, called PURCHASE in English Law; secondly, ‘acquisition by force of arms, military conquest’. The latter of these is by far the earlier in English, and has always been (with its transferred uses) the only popular sense. The general sense of acquisition and esp. the legal sense as opposed to inheritance, is chiefly Scotch and prominent in Scotch law.]


  • 1 : the act or process of conquering
  • 2 a : something conquered; especially : territory appropriated in war
b : a person whose favor or hand has been won
  • 3 : Mountaineering. The successful ascent of a mountain, esp. one previously unclimbed.


Conquest is the act of military subjugation of an enemy by force of arms. One example is the Norman conquest of England, which provided the subjugation of the Kingdom of England and the acquisition of the English crown by William the Conquerer in 1066. There are many other examples of conquest throughout military history: the Roman conquest of Britain, Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire and various Muslim conquests are just a few.