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noun con·science \ˈkän(t)-shən(t)s\

Simple Definition of conscience

  • : the part of the mind that makes you aware of your actions as being either morally right or wrong

  • : a feeling that something you have done is morally wrong

Full Definition of conscience

  1. 1 a :  the sense or consciousness of the moral goodness or blameworthiness of one's own conduct, intentions, or character together with a feeling of obligation to do right or be good b :  a faculty, power, or principle enjoining good acts c :  the part of the superego in psychoanalysis that transmits commands and admonitions to the ego

  2. 2 archaic :  consciousness

  3. 3 :  conformity to what one considers to be correct, right, or morally good :  conscientiousness

  4. 4 :  sensitive regard for fairness or justice :  scruple

con·science·less play \-ləs\ adjective
in all conscience or in conscience
  1. :  in all fairness

Examples of conscience

  1. … it is a politician's natural instinct to avoid taking any stand that seems controversial unless and until the voters demand it or conscience absolutely requires it. —Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, 2006

  2. We like to imagine literature as the still, small voice of human conscience. It is that only rarely, however. Actively and passively, it has always borne along pernicious ideas. —Marilynne Robinson, New York Times Book Review, 15 Mar. 1987

  3. The rat had no morals, no —conscience, no scruples, no consideration, no decency … —E. B. White, Charlotte's Web, 1952

  4. So she had lied to him, but so had he to her, they were quits on that score and his conscience was calm. —Bernard Malamud, The Magic Barrel, (1950) 1958

  5. The thief must have had an attack of conscience, because he returned the wallet with nothing missing from it.

Origin of conscience

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin conscientia, from conscient-, consciens, present participle of conscire to be conscious, be conscious of guilt, from com- + scire to know — more at science

First Known Use: 13th century

Medical Dictionary


noun con·science \ˈkän-chən(t)s\

Medical Definition of conscience

  1. :  the part of the superego in psychoanalysis that transmits commands and admonitions to the ego

Seen and Heard

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February 10, 2016

to put in good humor

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