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[uhn-kon-shuh s] /ʌnˈkɒn ʃəs/
not conscious; without awareness, sensation, or cognition.
temporarily devoid of consciousness.
not perceived at the level of awareness; occurring below the level of conscious thought:
an unconscious impulse.
not consciously realized, planned, or done; without conscious volition or intent:
an unconscious social slight.
not endowed with mental faculties:
the unconscious stones.
the unconscious, Psychoanalysis. the part of the mind containing psychic material that is only rarely accessible to awareness but that has a pronounced influence on behavior.
Origin of unconscious
1705-15; 1915-20 for def 6; un-1 + conscious
Related forms
unconsciously, adverb
unconsciousness, noun
quasi-unconscious, adjective
quasi-unconsciously, adverb
self-unconscious, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for unconsciousness
Contemporary Examples
  • Dr. Karasu said "there's a greater pleasure in the unconsciousness of revenge - it's more powerful than success."

    McCain's Revenge News Shrink November 5, 2008
Historical Examples
  • He had been too dazed to resist; he had not known what had gripped him in his unconsciousness and weakness.

    The Bluff of the Hawk Anthony Gilmore
  • Chris stared, almost forgetting the pose of unconsciousness in his bewilderment.

    Raiders Invisible Desmond Winter Hall
  • Slowly she realized that she was being choked into unconsciousness.

    The Film of Fear Arnold Fredericks
  • After Ali fell he lived a moment, though only in unconsciousness.

    The Scapegoat Hall Caine
  • His hand closed tightly on hers, and he sank back into unconsciousness.

    Audrey Craven May Sinclair
  • His face became distorted and he lapsed into unconsciousness.

    The Strollers Frederic S. Isham
  • But his look was mercifully hidden from his victim by unconsciousness.

  • It was the work of only an instant to choke him in unconsciousness and lock him in the sealed cell.

    Vulcan's Workshop Harl Vincent
  • Nor was this indifference the result of any unconsciousness of its beauty.

    Davenport Dunn, Volume 1 (of 2) Charles James Lever
British Dictionary definitions for unconsciousness


the state of being without normal sensory awareness; insensibility


lacking normal sensory awareness of the environment; insensible
not aware of one's actions, behaviour, etc: unconscious of his bad manners
characterized by lack of awareness or intention: an unconscious blunder
coming from or produced by the unconscious: unconscious resentment
(psychoanal) the part of the mind containing instincts, impulses, images, and ideas that are not available for direct examination See also collective unconscious Compare subconscious, preconscious
Derived Forms
unconsciously, adverb
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 unconsciousness



1712, "unaware, not marked by conscious thought," from un- (1) "not" + conscious. Meaning "temporarily insensible, knocked out" is recorded from 1860. In psychology, the noun the unconscious (1884) is a loan-translation of German das Unbewusste. The adjective in this sense is recorded from 1912.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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unconsciousness in Medicine

unconsciousness un·con·scious·ness (ŭn-kŏn'shəs-nĭs)
A state of impaired consciousness in which one shows no responsiveness to environmental stimuli but may respond to deep pain with involuntary movements.

unconscious un·con·scious (ŭn-kŏn'shəs)

  1. Of or in a state of unconsciousness; not conscious.

  2. Occurring in the absence of conscious awareness or thought, as an emotion or motive.

  3. Without conscious control; involuntary or unintended.

In psychoanalytic theory, the division of the mind containing elements of psychic makeup, such as memories or repressed desires, that are not subject to conscious perception or control but that often affect conscious thoughts and behavior.
un·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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unconsciousness in Culture

unconscious definition

The part of the psyche lying far below consciousness and not easily raised into consciousness. In Freudian psychology, the unconscious cannot be directly observed with the conscious mind, but it has its own processes and deeply affects conscious thought.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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