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 The measure says health care workers and institutions have the right to not participate in nonemergency treatments that violate their conscience. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Nursing home isolation, Oahu weddings, eligibility rolls: News from around our 50 states," 29 Mar. 2021 The measure says health care workers and institutions have the right to not participate in non-emergency treatments that violate their conscience. Andrew Demillo, ajc, "Arkansas governor signs medical conscience objections law," 26 Mar. 2021 The measure says health care workers and institutions have the right to not participate in non-emergency treatments that violate their conscience. Andrew Demillo, Star Tribune, "Arkansas governor signs medical conscience objections law," 26 Mar. 2021 Having competitors or comrades can create a crucial challenge for your conscience. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for March 19, 2021: Libra, trusted friends give moral support; Pisces, treat yourself with respect," 19 Mar. 2021 Blockchain technology could offer transparency of food principles, inviting consumers to vote their conscience. Erik Oberholtzer, Rolling Stone, "5 Elements Food Entrepreneurs Should Consider Upon Entering a Post-Pandemic World," 8 Mar. 2021 This teacher had stayed in my conscience all my life. Carolyn Wells, Longreads, "“Can I Get You a Nice Chianti?”," 28 Feb. 2021 For every pulse-pounding, fictionalized scene of O’Neal wrestling with his conscience, there’s a quietly moving moment based on a kernel of American history. Nick Allen, Vulture, "Who’s Who in Judas and the Black Messiah: A Character Guide," 13 Feb. 2021 Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, who said last week that Mr. McConnell had told him to vote his conscience on matters of impeachment, ticked through a series of possible explanations for the leader’s vote on Wednesday. New York Times, "McConnell Was Done With Trump. His Party Said Not So Fast.," 27 Jan. 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

5 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Conscience.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conscience. Accessed 11 Apr. 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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Comments on conscience

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