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

The Constitution at last created a national government that gave adequate effect to the Americans’ increasing self-consciousness as a united people. Thomas Wendel, National Review, "The Beginning of a Nation," 4 July 2019 The 9-year-old girl never lost consciousness after the shooting, police said. Adam Ferrise,, "15-year-old boy playing with gun found on dresser accidentally shot 9-year-old sister in Cleveland, police say," 4 July 2019 Then, in the romping final movement of Telemann’s Quartet in A Major, the players seemed to throw all self-consciousness to the wind, with rewarding results. Globe Staff,, "Aston Magna festival explores the roots of the string quartet," 1 July 2019 This is when a person starts to lose consciousness, go into a coma or stop breathing. David Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "Liberty-Dayton RMC hopes to stem opioid crisis in Liberty County," 25 June 2019 Even so, William moved through the room easily, without self-consciousness. Emma Cline, The New Yorker, "Son of Friedman," 24 June 2019 In the land of exercise and health-consciousness, Jazzercise was a massive hit. Samantha Leach, Glamour, "The 75-Year-Old Behind Jazzercise Keeps Dancing On Her Own," 21 June 2019 Thumper, 14-year-old black mixed breed dog; Barnabas, 6-year-old tan Shepherd mix; and Dewey, a 14-year-old tabby cat, all appeared to have lost consciousness and died, Finkelstein said. Rafael Olmeda,, "Broward Public Defender loses home, three pets in Plantation fire," 17 June 2019 Muslim women, particularly the many who ache to prove that one can be covered and cool, can now jump into the fray with a bit less self-consciousness. Rafia Zakaria, The New Republic, "The Feminist Future of Modesty," 12 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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Learn More about consciousness

Statistics for consciousness

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 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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