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 There's not just a trickle-down effect, but a boom of social consciousness that had long been dormant. J. Michael, The Indianapolis Star, "Pacers coach Nate McMillan eager to see 'new America' emerge from this turmoil," 29 June 2020 The officer lost consciousness during the attack, police told WFAA-TV. Fox News, "Off-duty Dallas police officer beaten to ground after trying to disperse crowd, police say," 29 June 2020 Gattenby lost consciousness as multiple officers used their body weight to pin and handcuff the 40-year-old while repeatedly tasing him. Sarah Ravani,, "Video exclusive: Navy vet who died 8 days after Alameda arrest was pinned, tased multiple times," 24 June 2020 Allen had been unceremoniously dismissed by the Yankees in 1964 and drifted out of public consciousness. Stephen Borelli, USA TODAY, "Why do I love sports? Because the song from 'This Week in Baseball' still gives me goosebumps," 23 June 2020 In eyewitness video footage of the incident, former officer Derek Chauvin was seen pressing his knee to the Black man's neck for nearly eight minutes as Floyd lost consciousness. Josh Campbell, CNN, "Four weeks after George Floyd's death, an embattled police union finally speaks out," 23 June 2020 Gugino was taken to the hospital and treated for a head injury, loss of consciousness and bleeding from his right ear, Flynn said. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, "Trump suggests without evidence 75-year-old man shoved to the ground by Buffalo police was a "set up"," 10 June 2020 Does this time feel different to you, as someone who has watched these horrible incidents bubble up to the surface of the American consciousness and then recede again? Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "The Author of So You Want to Talk About Race Wants to Live in a World That Doesn’t Need Her Book," 10 June 2020 They got caught up in the era’s celebration of free expression and consciousness-seeking excess, and the movements for civil rights and peace. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, "Maxine Hong Kingston’s Genre-Defying Life and Work," 1 June 2020

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

5 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Consciousness.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for consciousness


How to pronounce consciousness (audio)

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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