[uhn-kon-shuh s]


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 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. 2019

Examples from the Web for unconsciousness

Contemporary Examples of unconsciousness

  • Dr. Karasu said "there's a greater pleasure in the unconsciousness of revenge - it's more powerful than success."

    The Daily Beast logo
    McCain's Revenge

    News Shrink

    November 5, 2008

Historical Examples of unconsciousness

  • 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

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, etcunconscious of his bad manners
characterized by lack of awareness or intentionan unconscious blunder
coming from or produced by the unconsciousunconscious resentment


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 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

unconsciousness in Medicine




A state of impaired consciousness in which one shows no responsiveness to environmental stimuli but may respond to deep pain with involuntary movements.




Of or in a state of unconsciousness; not conscious.
Occurring in the absence of conscious awareness or thought, as an emotion or motive.
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.
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.

unconsciousness 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.