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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
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Recent Examples on the Web
Even if these language models, now or in the future, aren’t at all conscious, this doesn’t matter. Tamlyn Hunt, Scientific American, 25 May 2023 Be conscious of the space around you on the dance floor. Duante Beddingfield, Detroit Free Press, 25 May 2023 Whether that was a conscious link for Cohn or not is hard to say, especially given the varied influences of his talented team of tailors and embroiderers. Amy Bizzarri, Smithsonian Magazine, 17 May 2023 Lorraine also holds a Master’s degree in environmental science and is a firm believer that consumers can make informed and environmentally conscious choices to protect their families and our planet. Lorraine Wilde, Treehugger, 16 May 2023 The victims — whose names were not released — were conscious and breathing when police responded, Gertz said. Salvador Rizzo, Washington Post, 7 May 2023 Follow every game: Latest MLB Scores and Schedules The Phillies said in a statement that the fan was conscious and responsive while leaving the ballpark, but the extent of the fan's injuries was not disclosed. Jace Evans, USA TODAY, 6 May 2023 Swap power struggles for ‘conscious parenting’ by mastering the art of being patient, regulated, present and most importantly, aware. Alex Wood, Forbes, 6 May 2023 As sustainability becomes a prominent topic of discussion, environmentally conscious consumers are actively seeking out companies that align with their values. Rolling Stone Culture Council, Rolling Stone, 26 Apr. 2023
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 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 4 Jun. 2023.

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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