[kon-shuh s-nis]
See more synonyms for consciousness on
  1. the state of being conscious; awareness of one's own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, etc.
  2. the thoughts and feelings, collectively, of an individual or of an aggregate of people: the moral consciousness of a nation.
  3. full activity of the mind and senses, as in waking life: to regain consciousness after fainting.
  4. awareness of something for what it is; internal knowledge: consciousness of wrongdoing.
  5. concern, interest, or acute awareness: class consciousness.
  6. the mental activity of which a person is aware as contrasted with unconscious mental processes.
  7. Philosophy. the mind or the mental faculties as characterized by thought, feelings, and volition.
  1. raise one's consciousness, to increase one's awareness and understanding of one's own needs, behavior, attitudes, etc., especially as a member of a particular social or political group.

Origin of consciousness

First recorded in 1625–35; conscious + -ness
Related formsun·der·con·scious·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for consciousness

Contemporary Examples of consciousness

Historical Examples of consciousness

  • The consciousness of recent misconduct filled her with extreme dread.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • The allusion and a consciousness of Vancouver brought a smile into Viviette's eyes.


    William J. Locke

  • Our very fear of the death-principle admits it into our consciousness.

  • Yet the consciousness of my situation does not always make me sad.

  • Admitted into our consciousness it starts its work of killing us.

Word Origin and History for consciousness

1630s, "internal knowledge," from conscious + -ness. Meaning "state of being aware" is from 1746.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

consciousness in Medicine


  1. The state or condition of being conscious.
  2. A sense of one's personal or collective identity, especially the complex of attitudes, beliefs, and sensitivities held by or considered characteristic of an individual or a group.
  3. In psychoanalysis, the conscious.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.