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

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.

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
These create cognitive shortcuts that strengthen climate activism by connecting it with aspirational memories that already exist in the subconscious mind. Leslie Zane, Fortune, 31 Jan. 2023 That is the universal intelligence or subconscious mind getting a message over to you. Dave Conway, Forbes, 10 Aug. 2022 Sometimes your subconscious perceives danger that your conscious mind misses. Laura Jedeed, The New Republic, 3 Jan. 2023 Pisces is the natural ruler of the 12th house of endings, healing, spirituality, the afterlife, and the subconscious. Meghan Rose, Glamour, 29 Dec. 2022 The measure isn’t unlike the pain scale that doctors use to ask how patients feel, or the Rorschach inkblot that psychologists use to prompt subconscious feelings from their clients. Gabriela Riccardi, Quartz, 27 Dec. 2022 In modern years, scientists have explained how humans reconstruct partially baked recollections with subconscious filler to make sense of them, especially if given a falsehood by someone else. cleveland, 26 Dec. 2022 An exploration of grief, the subconscious and the very nature of reality, Inception has enough action and explosive twists to keep you awake and on the edge of your seat. Jessica Sager, Peoplemag, 21 Dec. 2022 Benevolent Jupiter is bounding into your sign, returning after backtracking into your subconscious realm for the last few months. Chicago Tribune, 20 Dec. 2022
Noun
These jaunts down memory lane are narrated by Bea’s omniscient subconscious in voiceover. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 Sep. 2022 Through a series of unconnected conversations with unrelated people on Zoom, my 14-year-old boarding-school love arose from my subconscious. Kim O'hara, Los Angeles Times, 3 Feb. 2023 However the truth is that emotional influence lodges deep in our subconscious and is almost impossible to recall. Robert George Heath, Discover Magazine, 23 Aug. 2016 Both are props that push the buttons of stereotype buried in our subconscious. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, 17 Jan. 2023 The series is dark, twisted, and poignant with spectacular visuals and a layered dive into the subconscious. Jihane Bousfiha, Men's Health, 20 Jan. 2023 According to him, the intersection between pop culture and celebrity culture is the reason why the aesthetic remains in the subconscious of many, specifically referencing good wavy hair and a fitted sequin dress. Isiah Magsino, Town & Country, 11 Jan. 2023 His intention is to do right by his responsibilities, which are very specific to the subconscious of the universe. Randee Dawn, Los Angeles Times, 22 Nov. 2022 And yet, these films were expressions of the most vulnerable and strange parts of our subconscious that were incredibly healing for us. Tomris Laffly, Variety, 7 Jan. 2023 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 27 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition

subconscious

1 of 2 adjective
sub·​con·​scious ˌsəb-ˈkän-chəs How to pronounce subconscious (audio)
ˈsəb-
: existing in the mind but not immediately available to consciousness
a subconscious motive
subconsciously adverb

subconscious

2 of 2 noun
: the mental activities just below the limit of consciousness

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 wakingPsychological Abstracts
subconsciously adverb
subconsciousness noun

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: - Updated example sentences
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