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

Sarr, a Senegalese international at the age of 20, is set to explode into the footballing public consciousness at the World Cup this summer, and Dortmund are thought to be eager to sign the forward before interest rises., "Report: Borussia Dortmund eyeing Victor Wanyama, Ismaila Sarr," 14 June 2018 Her partner, Charlie Rowley, 45, was also hospitalized as critically ill, but has since regained consciousness and remains in serious but stable condition. Bart Jansen, USA TODAY, "British police identify source of Russian nerve agent that killed woman," 13 July 2018 Starbucks announced plans to switch to strawless lids at stores worldwide by 2020, citing environmental consciousness and ocean conservancy in their efforts. Madison Roberts,, "Why Starbucks And Other Companies Are Ditching Plastic Straws To Help Save the Environment," 11 July 2018 Its effects can include confusion, loss of consciousness and damage to internal organs, including the brain. Linda Searing, Washington Post, "The Big Number: Extreme heat kills 618 people every year," 9 July 2018 In recent weeks, political protest, investigative journalism, and organizing around migrants’ rights have been highly effective in raising consciousness and building a moral consensus against child separation. Crystal Marie Fleming, Vox, "Maxine Waters and the trope of the “angry black woman”," 29 June 2018 Court documents state Watts was struck in the face, lost consciousness and fell. Cameron Knight,, "Man arrested in assault on Japp's manager," 28 June 2018 The slowest occur during deep sleep, with increasing frequency associated with increasing levels of consciousness and concentration. Simon Makin, Scientific American, "“Traveling” Brain Waves May Be Critical for Cognition," 28 June 2018 As the world of the show has grown more intricate, its pairings of consciousnesses and bodies have also grown more inventive. Sandra Upson, WIRED, "Westworld Recap, Season 2 Episode 9: The Many Lives of the Man in Black," 18 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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Last Updated

18 Sep 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

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