adjective con·sci·en·tious \ ˌkän(t)-shē-ˈen(t)-shəs \
|Updated on: 15 Aug 2018

Definition of conscientious

1 : meticulous, careful
  • a conscientious listener
2 : governed by or conforming to the dictates of conscience : scrupulous
  • a conscientious public servant





conscientious was our Word of the Day on 06/22/2008. Hear the podcast!

Examples of conscientious in a Sentence

  1. He was a good friend to his comrades, a conscientious leader mindful of his men's needs; an upright family man with strong, bright, proud children … —Tom ClancyWithout Remorse1994
  2. Because Puckett was a conscientious lieutenant … his men did not have to stint on their fire. He had made sure that every man was carrying a basic load of ammunition and then some to spare … —Neil SheehanA Bright Shining Lie1988
  3. He was shifty about money matters, not conscientious about returning advances, fulfilling contracts, reading manuscripts. —Monroe K. SpearsAmerican Ambitions1987
  4. She has always been a very conscientious worker.

  5. He was conscientious about following the doctor's orders.

Recent Examples of conscientious from the Web

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

Did You Know?

According to American writer and editor H.L. Mencken, "Conscience is the inner voice which warns us someone may be looking." A person who is conscientious makes sure that if others are watching, they like what they see. "Conscience" and "conscientious" both come from the Latin verb conscire, a word that means "to be conscious" or "to be conscious of guilt" and that traces back to a still older Latin word, scire, meaning "to know."

Origin and Etymology of conscientious

Synonym Discussion of conscientious

upright, honest, just, conscientious, scrupulous, honorable mean having or showing a strict regard for what is morally right. upright implies a strict adherence to moral principles.
    • a stern and upright minister
honest stresses adherence to such virtues as truthfulness, candor, or fairness.
    • known for being honest in business dealings
just stresses conscious choice and regular practice of what is right or equitable.
    • workers given just compensation
conscientious and scrupulous imply an active moral sense governing all one's actions and painstaking efforts to follow one's conscience.
    • conscientious in the completion of her assignments
    • scrupulous in carrying out the terms of the will
honorable suggests a firm holding to codes of right behavior and the guidance of a high sense of honor and duty.
    • a difficult but honorable decision

CONSCIENTIOUS Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of conscientious for English Language Learners

  • : very careful about doing what you are supposed to do : concerned with doing something correctly

CONSCIENTIOUS Defined for Kids


adjective con·sci·en·tious \ ˌkän-shē-ˈen-shəs \

Definition of conscientious for Students

1 : guided by or agreeing with a sense of doing what is right
  • No conscientious person would stand for such unfair actions.
2 : using or done with care
  • conscientious teachers
  • conscientious efforts

Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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


subject to rapid or unexpected change

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens-painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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