self-con·​scious ˌself-ˈkän(t)-shəs How to pronounce self-conscious (audio)
: conscious of one's own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself : aware of oneself as an individual
: intensely aware of oneself : conscious
a rising and self-conscious social class
also : produced or done with such awareness
self-conscious art
: uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others : ill at ease
self-consciously adverb
self-consciousness noun

Examples of self-conscious in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Every year, the kids got more serious about the plays, more ambitious but also more self-conscious. Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, 26 Aug. 2023 Zendaya trained for three months, but confessed to feeling self-conscious on set about her playing skills. Lisa Respers France, CNN, 23 Aug. 2023 But while it's understandably expected to feel self-conscious sometimes, like when speaking in front of the class, excessive shyness could indicate a social anxiety disorder. Nicole Harris, Parents, 15 Aug. 2023 The new collection includes a couple of excellent stories about dreamy, moony, self-conscious adolescents, another of Millhauser’s preoccupations. Charles McGrath, The New Yorker, 7 Aug. 2023 Would Montauk’s contradictory characteristics — a wealthy, self-conscious surf destination, a solidly middle-class camping paradise, and a rarefied sliver of the already rarefied art world — have won out nonetheless? Thessaly La Force, Travel + Leisure, 29 July 2023 Ray Carney is motile and plastic, a self-conscious journeyman who pins his rival, Alexander Oakes, a purer member of the hoity-toity Dumas Club. Lawrence Jackson, Harper's Magazine, 10 July 2023 Bach and Manager Jake Lowery had been enjoying a meandering chat when the young broadcaster sprang a self-conscious question. Zach Buchanan, New York Times, 15 July 2023 But too often, beneath Rylance’s work and the production pyrotechnics, there is too little to hold on to beyond the retelling of a story and the script’s self-conscious announcements about the resonance of its ideas. David Benedict, Variety, 13 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'self-conscious.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1632, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of self-conscious was in 1632

Dictionary Entries Near self-conscious

Cite this Entry

“Self-conscious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others
self-consciously adverb
self-consciousness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on self-conscious

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