conscience

noun
con·​science | \ ˈkän(t)-shən(t)s How to pronounce conscience (audio) \

Definition of conscience

1a : 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 She had a guilty conscience.
b : a faculty, power, or principle enjoining good acts guided by conscience
c : the part of the superego in psychoanalysis that transmits commands and admonitions to the ego
2 : conformity to what one considers to be correct, right, or morally good : conscientiousness
3 : sensitive regard for fairness or justice : scruple a wealthy man with no conscience
4 archaic : consciousness
in all conscience or in conscience
: in all fairness She could not in all conscience remain silent.

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Other Words from conscience

conscienceless \ ˈkän(t)-​shən(t)s-​ləs How to pronounce conscience (audio) \ adjective

Examples of conscience in a Sentence

… 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 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 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 The rat had no morals, no conscience, no scruples, no consideration, no decency … — E. B. White, Charlotte's Web, 1952 The thief must have had an attack of conscience, because he returned the wallet with nothing missing from it.
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Recent Examples on the Web Rhetoric decrying this barbarism has been plentiful, heartfelt and essential to stirring the community's conscience. Editorial Board, Star Tribune, 22 May 2021 Should anyone come across a spine, or a conscience, please alert the NCAA. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, 18 May 2021 Leaving something so important to good faith is not only absurd (in the case of people who have demonstrated, moreover, their lack of responsibility and social conscience), but also dangerous. Enrique Dans, Forbes, 16 May 2021 The machine that develops a conscience and becomes troubled by the actions it’s been hardwired to carry out has transcended its status as a tool and has become, essentially, human. Meghan O'gieblyn, Wired, 13 May 2021 But what Brown captured so brilliantly, even in the compartmentalized squares of a virtual reading, were the internal forces prodding the character’s conscience into action. Los Angeles Times, 13 May 2021 Empathy, conscience and instinct pull you toward your baby. Erica Komisar, WSJ, 6 May 2021 Hannah with the chance to redeem her tortured conscience and use everything she's ever learned on a ropes course. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, 12 May 2021 If the killer hadn’t been troubled by his own conscience, former Warwick detective Jeffrey Scott Hornoff would still be in prison for the murder of a former lover in 1989. BostonGlobe.com, 10 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'conscience.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of conscience

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for 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

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Time Traveler for conscience

Time Traveler

The first known use of conscience was in the 13th century

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Statistics for conscience

Last Updated

4 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Conscience.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conscience. Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for conscience

conscience

noun

English Language Learners 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

conscience

noun
con·​science | \ ˈkän-shəns How to pronounce conscience (audio) \

Kids Definition of conscience

: a sense of right and wrong and a feeling that what is right should be done Her conscience told her to tell the truth.

conscience

noun
con·​science | \ ˈkän-chən(t)s How to pronounce conscience (audio) \

Medical Definition of conscience

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

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conscience

adjective
con·​science

Legal Definition of conscience

: exempting persons whose religious beliefs forbid compliance conscience laws, which allow physicians…to refuse to participate in abortions— W. J. Curran

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