con·​scious·​ness | \ ˈkän(t)-shəs-nəs How to pronounce consciousness (audio) \

Definition of consciousness

1a : the quality or state of being aware especially of something within oneself
b : the state or fact of being conscious of an external object, state, or fact
c : awareness especially : concern for some social or political cause The organization aims to raise the political consciousness of teenagers.
2 : the state of being characterized by sensation, emotion, volition, and thought : mind
3 : the totality of conscious states of an individual
4 : the normal state of conscious life regained consciousness
5 : the upper level of mental life of which the person is aware as contrasted with unconscious processes

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Examples of consciousness in a Sentence

The medication caused her to enter an altered state of consciousness. The events have become part of the national consciousness. He hopes that he can raise public consciousness of the disease.
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Recent Examples on the Web Things get meta when the two ruminate on what consciousness means, the role of the writer in society, and how to responsibly use technology. Elvia Wilk, The Atlantic, "How Will Machines Choose to Tell Stories?," 28 Mar. 2021 Stoltenberg’s comments signal a heightening consciousness among American allies that the U.S. rivalry with China could require European powers to reorient their foreign policies. Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner, "‘We have NATO’: 21st-century coalitions emerge as Russia and China align against US allies," 23 Mar. 2021 From ocean gales to subtle breezes rippling the dune grasses, the air here is lung-cleansing, head-clearing, consciousness-altering. Stanley Stewart, Travel + Leisure, "Visit Distilleries, Castles, and Dramatic Cliffs on Scotland’s Hebrides Islands," 22 Mar. 2021 In each performance of a self, Roth captured a distinct sound and consciousness. David Remnick, The New Yorker, "The Secrets Philip Roth Didn’t Keep," 22 Mar. 2021 Her work, usually digital, is concerned with nature and consciousness. Christopher Borrelli,, "What is NFT art? Chicago artists explain the goldrush, as one collection by Beeple brings in $69 million," 20 Mar. 2021 By interweaving wealth consciousness throughout your spiritual, emotional, and physical wellbeing, many avenues present to cultivate holistic health, financial freedom, and endless opportunities. Celinne Da Costa, Forbes, "Redefining What It Means To Be Truly Wealthy," 20 Mar. 2021 Juxtapose also wanted to tap into a rising consciousness around health and wellness as a lifestyle. Lucinda Shen, Fortune, "Venture capital firm Juxtapose raises $300 million as it seeks “venture-like returns” with less risky investments," 19 Mar. 2021 The only way to take back control is to bring it to consciousness and name it. David Marchesephotograph By Mamadi Doumbouya, New York Times, "Covid Has Traumatized America. A Doctor Explains What We Need to Heal.," 19 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'consciousness.' 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 consciousness

1605, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for consciousness

see conscious entry 1

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Learn More about consciousness

Time Traveler for consciousness

Time Traveler

The first known use of consciousness was in 1605

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Statistics for consciousness

Last Updated

1 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Consciousness.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for consciousness



English Language Learners Definition of consciousness

: the condition of being conscious : the normal state of being awake and able to understand what is happening around you
: a person's mind and thoughts
: knowledge that is shared by a group of people


con·​scious·​ness | \ ˈkän-shəs-nəs How to pronounce consciousness (audio) \

Kids Definition of consciousness

1 : the condition of being mentally awake and active Following surgery, she slowly regained consciousness.
2 : the part of the mind involving thought and awareness The memory is preserved in my consciousness.
3 : knowledge of something specified News reports raised consciousness of the problem.


con·​scious·​ness | \ ˈkän-chə-snəs How to pronounce consciousness (audio) \

Medical Definition of consciousness

1 : the totality in psychology of sensations, perceptions, ideas, attitudes, and feelings of which an individual or a group is aware at any given time or within a given time span altered states of consciousness, such as sleep, dreaming and hypnosis— Bob Gaines
2 : waking life (as that to which one returns after sleep, trance, or fever) in which one's normal mental powers are present the ether wore off and the patient regained consciousness
3 : the upper part of mental life of which the person is aware as contrasted with unconscious processes

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