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con·​scious ˈkän(t)-shəs How to pronounce conscious (audio)
: having mental faculties not dulled by sleep, faintness, or stupor : awake
became conscious after the anesthesia wore off
: perceiving, apprehending, or noticing with a degree of controlled thought or observation
conscious of having succeeded
was conscious that someone was watching
: personally felt
conscious guilt
: likely to notice, consider, or appraise
a bargain-conscious shopper
: being concerned or interested
a budget-conscious businessman
: marked by strong feelings or notions
a race-conscious society
: done or acting with critical awareness
a conscious effort to do better
: capable of or marked by thought, will, design, or perception
archaic : sharing another's knowledge or awareness of an inward state or outward fact
consciously adverb


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Choose the Right Synonym for conscious

aware, cognizant, conscious, sensible, alive, awake mean having knowledge of something.

aware implies vigilance in observing or alertness in drawing inferences from what one experiences.

aware of changes in climate

cognizant implies having special or certain knowledge as from firsthand sources.

not fully cognizant of the facts

conscious implies that one is focusing one's attention on something or is even preoccupied by it.

conscious that my heart was pounding

sensible implies direct or intuitive perceiving especially of intangibles or of emotional states or qualities.

sensible of a teacher's influence

alive adds to sensible the implication of acute sensitivity to something.

alive to the thrill of danger

awake implies that one has become alive to something and is on the alert.

a country always awake to the threat of invasion

Examples of conscious in a Sentence

Adjective The chances of being admitted conscious to a hospital without being pressed to produce a living will, have become virtually nil … Joan Didion, New York Review of Books, 9 June 2005
"Was she good-looking?" "Actually, my conscious mind no longer remembers anything about her physical appearance. She went the way of my seventh-grade French." Joseph Wambaugh, Finnegan's Week, 1994
Incidentally, neither my mother nor I was conscious of any rudeness. Flannery O'Connor, The Habit of Being, 1979
Bilbo bowed. He had no hat to take off, and was painfully conscious of his many missing buttons. J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, 1937
Is the patient conscious yet? He was fully conscious when we found him. the capacity for conscious thought Noun For myself, ever since 1922, when I saw my first picture, films have been barreling through my conscious to my unconscious, but insofar as they remain in my conscious, they get themselves arranged in hierarchies of value and, more important, affection. Stanley Kauffmann, Before My Eyes, (1974) 1980
Recent Examples on the Web
Carroll said the woman was conscious when first responders found her with a serious leg injury. Joey Flechas, Miami Herald, 21 May 2024 Given that the film takes place over the course of a single game, and the filming location meant the production had lots of natural light, Lund and his cinematographer were particularly conscious of lighting. Mia Galuppo, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for conscious 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'conscious.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Adjective and Noun

Latin conscius, from com- + scire to know

First Known Use


circa 1600, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1919, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of conscious was circa 1600

Dictionary Entries Near conscious

Cite this Entry

“Conscious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


: aware of facts or feelings
was conscious of the cold
: known or felt by one's inner self
conscious guilt
: mentally alert or active
became conscious again
: done with awareness or purpose
a conscious effort to improve
consciously adverb


from Latin conscius "knowing or being aware of something, knowing something along with another person," derived from con-, com- "with" and scire "to know" — related to science

Medical Definition


1 of 2 adjective
con·​scious ˈkän-chəs How to pronounce conscious (audio)
: capable of or marked by thought, will, design, or perception : relating to, being, or being part of consciousness
the conscious mind
conscious and unconscious processes
: having mental faculties undulled by sleep, faintness, or stupor
became conscious after the anesthesia wore off
consciously adverb


2 of 2 noun

More from Merriam-Webster on conscious

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