[uhn-kon-shuh s]
See more synonyms for unconscious on Thesaurus.com
  1. not conscious; without awareness, sensation, or cognition.
  2. temporarily devoid of consciousness.
  3. not perceived at the level of awareness; occurring below the level of conscious thought: an unconscious impulse.
  4. not consciously realized, planned, or done; without conscious volition or intent: an unconscious social slight.
  5. not endowed with mental faculties: the unconscious stones.
  1. 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 formsun·con·scious·ly, adverbun·con·scious·ness, nounqua·si-un·con·scious, adjectivequa·si-un·con·scious·ly, adverbself-un·con·scious, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for unconscious

Contemporary Examples of unconscious

Historical Examples of unconscious

  • Yet his voice was unbroken and he was, indeed, unconscious of the tears.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • This was the effect of the unconscious influence of Harry Ashton.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • And last night he himself had carried down Wilson's unconscious figure.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • The edge of the ice-cake had taken Tiakens under the chin and he was unconscious.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • Evidently Donald's foot was caught and he was unconscious from the pain.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

British Dictionary definitions for unconscious


  1. lacking normal sensory awareness of the environment; insensible
  2. not aware of one's actions, behaviour, etcunconscious of his bad manners
  3. characterized by lack of awareness or intentionan unconscious blunder
  4. coming from or produced by the unconsciousunconscious resentment
  1. psychoanal the part of the mind containing instincts, impulses, images, and ideas that are not available for direct examinationSee also collective unconscious Compare subconscious, preconscious
Derived Formsunconsciously, 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

Word Origin and History for unconscious

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

unconscious in Medicine


  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.
  1. 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.
Related formsun•conscious•ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

unconscious in Culture


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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.