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[kon-shuh s] /ˈkɒn ʃəs/
aware of one's own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, etc.
fully aware of or sensitive to something (often followed by of):
conscious of one's own faults; He wasn't conscious of the gossip about his past.
having the mental faculties fully active:
He was conscious during the operation.
known to oneself; felt:
conscious guilt.
aware of what one is doing:
a conscious liar.
aware of oneself; self-conscious.
deliberate; intentional:
a conscious insult; a conscious effort.
acutely aware of or concerned about:
money-conscious; a diet-conscious society.
Obsolete. inwardly sensible of wrongdoing.
the conscious, Psychoanalysis. the part of the mind comprising psychic material of which the individual is aware.
Origin of conscious
1625-35; < Latin conscius sharing knowledge with, equivalent to con- con- + sci- (stem of scīre to know; see science) + -us -ous; cf. nice
Related forms
consciously, adverb
half-conscious, adjective
half-consciously, adverb
half-consciousness, noun
nonconscious, adjective
nonconsciously, adverb
nonconsciousness, noun
overconscious, adjective
overconsciously, adverb
overconsciousness, noun
quasi-conscious, adjective
quasi-consciously, adverb
Can be confused
conscience, conscious.
2. knowing, percipient.
Synonym Study
2.Conscious, aware, cognizant refer to an individual sense of recognition of something within or without oneself. Conscious implies to be awake or awakened to an inner realization of a fact, a truth, a condition, etc.: to be conscious of an extreme weariness. Aware lays the emphasis on sense perceptions insofar as they are the object of conscious recognition: He was aware of the odor of tobacco. Cognizant lays the emphasis on an outer recognition more on the level of reason and knowledge than on the sensory level alone: He was cognizant of their drawbacks. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for conscious
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
British Dictionary definitions for conscious


  1. alert and awake; not sleeping or comatose
  2. aware of one's surroundings, one's own thoughts and motivations, etc
  1. aware of and giving value or emphasis to a particular fact or phenomenon: I am conscious of your great kindness to me
  2. (in combination): clothes-conscious
done with full awareness; deliberate: a conscious effort, conscious rudeness
  1. denoting or relating to a part of the human mind that is aware of a person's self, environment, and mental activity and that to a certain extent determines his choices of action
  2. (as noun): the conscious is only a small part of the mind
Compare unconscious
Derived Forms
consciously, adverb
consciousness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin conscius sharing knowledge, from com- with + scīre to know
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for conscious

c.1600, "knowing, privy to," from Latin conscius "knowing, aware," from conscire (see conscience); probably a loan-translation of Greek syneidos. A word adopted from the Latin poets and much mocked at first. Sense of "active and awake" is from 1837.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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conscious in Medicine

conscious con·scious (kŏn'shəs)

  1. Having an awareness of one's environment and one's own existence, sensations, and thoughts.

  2. Intentionally conceived or done; deliberate.

In psychoanalysis, the component of waking awareness perceptible by a person at any given instant.
con'scious·ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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