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.

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from conscience

conscienceless \ ˈkän(t)-​shən(t)s-​ləs How to pronounce conscienceless (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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web For Goya’s once-loyal customers who have been affected by Trump’s cruel policies and attacks on the Latinx community, there’s no way to support the brand now in good conscience. Elly Belle, refinery29.com, "Customers Are Boycotting Goya Foods After The Company’s CEO Openly Praised Trump," 10 July 2020 Hours after the Little Sisters of the Poor won—again—at the Supreme Court on Wednesday, Joe Biden pledged to fight like hell to roll back conscience protections for Catholic nuns and other religious employers who object to providing contraceptives. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Joe Biden vs. the Nuns," 9 July 2020 The ruling is a significant defeat for activists, led by Harvard University law professor Lawrence Lessig, who sought to undermine the Electoral College by encouraging its members to vote their conscience despite the results in their state. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Electoral College Is an American Humiliation," 8 July 2020 Over the course of his nine seasons in San Antonio, Mills has become the social conscience of the Spurs’ locker room. Jeff Mcdonald, ExpressNews.com, "Spurs’ Patty Mills pledges to play for social justice," 8 July 2020 The caucus is turning its focus on negative images and damaging stereotype of Hispanics, calling on Hollywood, the book publishing industry and media in general to check their conscience. Dallas News, "El Paso shooter faces additional count for 23rd death; injuries will also be added to indictment," 24 June 2020 George Floyd has awakened the conscience of many who now see what communities of color have seen for decades. Marc Ramirez, Dallas News, "Four years after officers killed in ambush, Dallas struggles to reconcile legacy with ongoing unrest," 6 July 2020 But military regulations give members little ability to disobey lawful orders on the grounds of conscience. Dwight Stirling, The Conversation, "Why soldiers can’t claim conscientious objection if ordered to suppress protests," 30 June 2020 The competition emphasized the GTO's significance with an explosion of similar cars that consumed the national conscience for a decade. Car and Driver, "The Greatest Cars of All Time: The Sixties," 29 June 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about conscience

Time Traveler for conscience

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for conscience

Last Updated

21 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Conscience.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conscience. Accessed 7 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for conscience

conscience

noun
How to pronounce conscience (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on conscience

What made you want to look up conscience? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

July 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • papercraft sunset
  • Which is a synonym of mien?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!