[ kon-shuhns ]
/ ˈkɒn ʃəns /
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See synonyms for: conscience / conscienceless on Thesaurus.com


the inner sense of what is right or wrong in one's conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action: to follow the dictates of conscience.
the complex of ethical and moral principles that controls or inhibits the actions or thoughts of an individual.
an inhibiting sense of what is prudent: I'd eat another piece of pie but my conscience would bother me.
Obsolete. consciousness; self-knowledge.
Obsolete. strict and reverential observance.



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Idioms for conscience

    have something on one's conscience, to feel guilty about something, as an act that one considers wrong: She behaves as if she had something on her conscience.
    in all conscience,
    1. in all reason and fairness.
    2. certainly; assuredly.
    Also in conscience.

Origin of conscience

1175–1225; Middle English <Anglo-French <Latin conscientia knowledge, awareness, conscience. See con-, science
con·science·less, adjectivecon·science·less·ly, adverbcon·science·less·ness, nounsub·con·science, noun
conscience , conscious
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for conscience

/ (ˈkɒnʃəns) /


  1. the sense of right and wrong that governs a person's thoughts and actions
  2. regulation of one's actions in conformity to this sense
  3. a supposed universal faculty of moral insight
conscientiousness; diligence
a feeling of guilt or anxietyhe has a conscience about his unkind action
obsolete consciousness
in conscience or in all conscience
  1. with regard to truth and justice
  2. certainly
on one's conscience causing feelings of guilt or remorse
conscienceless, adjective
C13: from Old French, from Latin conscientia knowledge, consciousness, from conscīre to know; see conscious
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

Medical definitions for conscience

[ kŏnshəns ]


The awareness of a moral or ethical aspect to one's conduct together with the urge to prefer right over wrong.
The part of the superego that judges the ethical nature of one's actions and thoughts and then transmits such determinations to the ego for consideration.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with conscience


see have a clear conscience; in conscience.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
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