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 As Ament drifted in and out of consciousness, his condition worsened. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "The Teenager Who Needed a Double Lung Transplant Because He Vaped Has Something to Say," 31 Jan. 2020 Some but not all concussions can cause victims to lose consciousness. Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY, "34 Americans injured in missile blast at Iraqi base, Pentagon says, tripling earlier estimates," 24 Jan. 2020 The victim in that attack suffered a stab wound to the abdomen and lost consciousness while talking to a responding police officer, according to a police report. Clarence Williams, Washington Post, "Southeast man charged with fatally stabbing a man in Foggy Bottom," 16 Jan. 2020 While reggae, with its lyrical themes of faith, love and social consciousness, has long enjoyed the support of middle and upper-class Jamaicans, dancehall’s essence has been harder to see. 1843, "Dance or die: fighting for the legacy of Bogle, the “Godfather of dancehall”," 16 Jan. 2020 Chief Baltimore Circuit Judge Wanda Keyes Heard didn’t lose consciousness but required unspecified medical attention, the Baltimore Sun reported. Fox News, "Baltimore defendant throws metal water pitcher, strikes judge in head after receiving life term: reports," 12 Dec. 2019 There is more of a majority consciousness -- a favorite Gloria Steinem term -- regarding equal opportunities and pay. Joe Levy, Billboard, "Billboard's 2019 Women In Music Hall of Fame Executives," 12 Dec. 2019 The nine-year veteran is being hailed as a hero by local law enforcement after managing to radio in a description of the shooter, 25-year-old Arturo Solis, before losing consciousness. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Slain Houston PD Sergeant Brewster to be laid to rest Thursday," 9 Dec. 2019 No wonder the prince of Ayodhya has seeped so deep into the Indian social texture and consciousness, irrespective of class, race, or religion—among the many versions of the Ramayan is a Muslim one, too. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, "Ram: The gentle, tragic prince who became the face of aggressive Hindu nationalism," 9 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for consciousness

Time Traveler

The first known use of consciousness was in 1605

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Statistics for consciousness

Last Updated

6 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Consciousness.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 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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