con·scious·ness | \ˈkän(t)-shəs-nəs \

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

Like many millennial protesters, his social consciousness came of age in the wake of Mike Brown’s August 2014 killing at the hands of a Ferguson, Mo., police officer. Terrell Jermaine Starr, The Root, "Chicago Activist Rides Progressive Wave in Mayor's Race," 5 July 2018 The way things look, we’ll be forced to put Cousins out of our consciousness — twice. Bruce Jenkins,, "DeMarcus Cousins and the Warriors: A temporary, fascinating spectacle," 3 July 2018 Want to keep expanding your consciousness about the cosmos? Shannon Stirone, WIRED, "Space Photos of the Week: Scientists Are Seeing Red Over Jupiter’s Spot," 30 June 2018 With Dolores uploading his consciousness to the a digital Eden, Marsden got what looked like a very final farewell shot in the episode. Joanna Robinson, HWD, "Westworld Season 3—Everything We Know So Far," 25 June 2018 Wouldn’t your consciousness inside your human body die? Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "'Westworld' Season 2 finale: What happened in that post-credits scene?," 25 June 2018 Today at his Resort 2019 show for Aalto, designer Tuomas Merikoski brought a surprising trend back into our collective consciousness. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Power Walking Is the Latest Fashion Nostalgia Trend to Make Moves on the Runway," 18 June 2018 The dirty gray raising of his own self-consciousness. Brad Rickman, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Loneliness of the American Soccer Fan," 15 June 2018 And in turn, planted the seeds for his own true consciousness. Scott Meslow, GQ, "Westworld Season 2 Episode 8 Recap: Take My Heart When You Go," 11 June 2018

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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Statistics for consciousness

Last Updated

16 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for consciousness

The first known use of consciousness was in 1605

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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 \

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 \

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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Comments on consciousness

What made you want to look up consciousness? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

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