subconscious

1 of 2

adjective

sub·​con·​scious ˌsəb-ˈkän(t)-shəs How to pronounce subconscious (audio)
ˈsəb-
: existing in the mind but not immediately available to consciousness
a subconscious motive
subconsciousness noun

subconscious

2 of 2

noun

: the mental activities just below the threshold of consciousness

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Did you know?

We're rarely aware, or at least fully aware, of our subconscious mental activity. But subconscious thought does affect our feelings and behavior, and it's often revealed in dreams, artistic expression, and slips of the tongue. The subconscious mind can be a hiding place for anxiety, a source of creativity, and often the reason behind our own mysterious behavior.

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Example Sentences

Noun A person's behavior can be influenced by urges that exist only in the subconscious. Those feelings had been hidden in her subconscious.
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Mars is barging through your subconscious sector, impacting you on a very deep level, and that enthusiasm takes on a serious tone when Mars fortifies Saturn in your intimacy sector. Tarot Astrologers, Chicago Tribune, 27 Sep. 2022 It's inspired by the thoughts in Gee's mind at 4:30 a.m. — experiences, dreams, subconscious. The Indianapolis Star, 23 Sep. 2022 Fond memories of riding dirt bikes with your brother can trigger subconscious happy memories just by inhaling a bit of gasoline while filling up your car’s gas tank and staring off into space. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, 29 Aug. 2022 For my part, rock represented a subconscious attempt to stay sane while growing up in post-civil-rights-era Gary, Ind. Los Angeles Times, 25 Aug. 2022 The process comes close to evoking postwar psychoanalysis, where the breakthroughs come almost entirely through subconscious processing. Paul Thompson, Rolling Stone, 19 Aug. 2022 Sightlines forward, across the fendercrests, and to the sides bring instinctive, subconscious connection. Mark Ewing, Forbes, 14 Aug. 2022 There might be some subconscious thing going on there. Ryan Parker, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Aug. 2022 Which only increases the countervailing need for storytellers in the more artful, ancient and magical mold of Neil Gaiman, who conjures fictions that stir up our primal fears and darkest desires, our subconscious yearnings and unspoken fantasies. David Marchesephotograph By Mamadi Doumbouya, New York Times, 28 July 2022
Noun
The Devil: Obligation, hedonism, addictions, patterned thoughts and behaviors that need to be controlled, living in a state of fear, feeling trapped, needing to deal with the parts of your subconscious that are ruling your life negatively. Meghan Rose, Glamour, 19 July 2022 Just as popular were covers done by in-house designers, who seemed to have a psychic back door into the teenage aesthetic subconscious. BostonGlobe.com, 26 Aug. 2022 The words still clang around my subconscious like a Patek Philippe tossed into a dryer. Jeff Ihaza, Rolling Stone, 30 Apr. 2022 My subconscious was grasping for an orienting metaphor, the fading light a symbol for a death that was symbolic, too. Lauren Mcbrayer, Vogue, 21 June 2022 With a long history of Russian invasion and occupation, the threat of Russia looms large over the collective Latvian subconscious. Paulina Smolinski, CBS News, 1 July 2022 Did a few themes lodge themselves in my subconscious that summer? Elinor Lipman, Washington Post, 26 May 2022 This idea could even come to you in a dream, so pay attention and listen closely to what your subconscious is trying to tell you. Chicago Tribune, 29 Apr. 2022 John Wesley, a painter of cartoonish figures whose work seemed extruded from a surreal American subconscious has died at 93. Los Angeles Times, 12 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'subconscious.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

Adjective

circa 1834, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1878, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of subconscious was circa 1834

Dictionary Entries Near subconscious

Cite this Entry

“Subconscious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subconscious. Accessed 2 Oct. 2022.

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Medical Definition

subconscious 1 of 2

adjective

sub·​con·​scious ˌsəb-ˈkän-chəs, ˈsəb- How to pronounce subconscious (audio)
1
: existing in the mind but not immediately available to consciousness : affecting thought, feeling, and behavior without entering awareness
subconscious motives
a subconscious reflex
2
: imperfectly conscious : partially but not fully aware
the persistence of subconscious dream activity for several minutes after waking Psychological Abstracts

subconscious

2 of 2

noun

: the mental activities just below the threshold of consciousness
also : the aspect of the mind concerned with such activities compare unconscious

Last Updated: 1 Oct 2022

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