"to guide a ship, give orders for the steering of a ship," 1620s, from French conduire "to conduct, lead, guide" (10c.), from Latin conducere "to lead or bring together, contribute, serve," from com "with, together" (see com-) + ducere "to lead," from PIE root *deuk- "to lead." As a noun, "action or post of steering a ship," 1825. Related: Conned; conning. Conning tower "dome-shaped pilot house of an ironclad warship or submarine" is attested from 1865.