[self-kon-shuh s, self-]


excessively aware of being observed by others.
conscious of oneself or one's own being.

Origin of self-conscious

First recorded in 1670–80
Related formsself-con·scious·ly, adverbself-con·scious·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for self-conscious

Contemporary Examples of self-conscious

Historical Examples of self-conscious

  • In this vast but connected universe we are not the only self-conscious beings.

  • The boy drew himself up with a self-conscious air as he replied.

    Almost A Man

    Mary Wood-Allen

  • This power, the army, was organized in the council and was self-conscious.

  • But the bulk of the players, though all were earnest and fervent, were clumsy or self-conscious.

  • If she hadn't been self-conscious she would never have said such a thing as that.

    Love and Lucy

    Maurice Henry Hewlett

British Dictionary definitions for self-conscious



unduly aware of oneself as the object of the attention of others; embarrassed
conscious of one's existence
Derived Formsself-consciously, adverbself-consciousness, 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

Word Origin and History for self-conscious

1680s, "aware of one's action," a word of the English Enlightenment (Locke was using it by 1690), from self- + conscious. Morbid sense of "preoccupied with one's own personality" is attested from 1834 (in J.S. Mill). Related: Self-consciously; self-consciousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper