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[kon-shee-en-shuh s, kon-see-] /ˌkɒn ʃiˈɛn ʃəs, ˌkɒn si-/
governed by conscience; controlled by or done according to one's inner sense of what is right; principled:
She's a conscientious judge, who does not let personal prejudices influence her decisions.
careful and painstaking; particular; meticulous; scrupulous:
conscientious application to the work at hand.
Origin of conscientious
1605-15; < Medieval Latin conscientiōsus, equivalent to Latin conscienti(a) conscience + -ōsus -ous
Related forms
conscientiously, adverb
conscientiousness, noun
hyperconscientious, adjective
hyperconscientiously, adverb
hyperconscientiousness, noun
overconscientious, adjective
overconscientiously, adverb
unconscientious, adjective
unconscientiously, adverb
unconscientiousness, noun
1. just, upright, honest, faithful, devoted, dedicated. 2. See painstaking. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for over-conscientious
Historical Examples
  • The over-conscientious parent will disgust one child and make a fanatic of another.

  • The over-conscientious individual may object that it is selfish to consider his own comfort when he has work to do for others.

    Why Worry? George Lincoln Walton, M.D.
  • Hers was one of those involved and over-conscientious characters, keenly sensitive to the thought of duty and to others, pain.

    The Crux Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • There is a word of warning which should here be spoken to the over-conscientious student.

  • But the obstinacy of an over-conscientious person who has a duty to perform is appalling.

    A Lady of Rome F. Marion Crawford
British Dictionary definitions for over-conscientious


involving or taking great care; painstaking; diligent
governed by or done according to conscience
Derived Forms
conscientiously, adverb
conscientiousness, noun
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 over-conscientious



1610s, from Middle French conscientieux (16c.; Modern French consciencieux), from Medieval Latin conscientiosus, from conscientia (see conscience). Related: Conscientiously; conscientiousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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