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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

Example Sentences

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web
So just in general, everyone has kind of taken a step during the pandemic in general, like a health conscious step. James Brown, USA TODAY, 20 Nov. 2022 But Maddon was later cast off like yesterday’s recyclables when the Cubs couldn’t match their 2016 success, leading to the conscious uncoupling between him and team President Theo Epstein after the 2019 season. Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune, 17 Nov. 2022 According to police, officers were dispatched to a home near Date Street and 3rd Street at about 2:20 a.m. after receiving reports of a 60-year-old man who as not conscious and not breathing. Scott D. Pierce, The Salt Lake Tribune, 17 Nov. 2022 Aside from the absolute fascination of being both conscious and dreaming simultaneously, the most important practical concern, says Rein, is whether this contradictory state is impairing the lucid dreamer’s quality of sleep. Manasee Wagh, Popular Mechanics, 14 Nov. 2022 The new model is still more expensive than those competitors, which do an admirable job of streaming video in 4K and HDR, so the cost-conscious will still want to steer clear of this one. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, 12 Nov. 2022 Although barely conscious, Wall clutched the roll of film in his hand all the way back to a medical ship. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 Nov. 2022 The woman was alert, conscious and talking at the time of the crash, Smiley said, but was pronounced dead at the hospital late Thursday night. Rae Johnson, The Courier-Journal, 11 Nov. 2022 That client, Ernesto Teldi, his unfaithful wife, Adela, and their friend magistrate Serafin Tous are all conscious that Nestor knows their darkest secrets. John Hopewell, Variety, 11 Nov. 2022
My friends who are in-the-know and value-conscious have sung praises of the chain for years, and my frugal-shopping mom has been a regular since ALDI opened in my hometown in the 1990s. NBC News, 15 Nov. 2019 See More

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

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 2 Dec. 2022.

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

Medical Definition

conscious 1 of 2


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


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