What does conscience mean?

Definitions for conscience
ˈkɒn ʃənscon·science

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word conscience.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. conscience, scruples, moral sense, sense of right and wrongnoun

    motivation deriving logically from ethical or moral principles that govern a person's thoughts and actions

  2. consciencenoun

    conformity to one's own sense of right conduct

    "a person of unflagging conscience"

  3. consciencenoun

    a feeling of shame when you do something immoral

    "he has no conscience about his cruelty"


  1. consciencenoun

    The moral sense of right and wrong, chiefly as it affects one's own behaviour; inwit.

  2. consciencenoun

    A personification of the moral sense of right and wrong, usually in the form of a person, a being or merely a voice that gives moral lessons and advices.

  3. consciencenoun

    Consciousness; thinking; awareness, especially self-awareness.

  4. Etymology: From conscience, from conscientia, from consciens, present participle of conscire, from com- + scire.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary


    Etymology: conscientia, Latin.

    When a people have no touch of conscience, no sense of their evil doings, it is bootless to think to restrain them. Edmund Spenser.

    On earth,
    Who against faith, and conscience, can be heard
    Infallible? John Milton, Paradise Lost, b. xii. l. 529.

    Such a conscience has not been wanting to itself, in endeavouring to get the clearest information about the will of God. Robert South, Sermons.

    But why must those be thought to ’scape, that feel
    Those rods of scorpions, and those whips of steel,
    Which conscience shakes? John Dryden, Juv. Sat. 13.

    No courts created yet, nor cause was heard;
    But all was safe, for conscience was their guard. John Dryden, Ovid.

    Conscience signifies that knowledge which a man hath of his own thoughts and actions; and, because if a man judgeth fairly of his actions, by comparing them with the law of God, his mind will approve or condemn him, this knowledge or conscience may be both an accuser and a judge. Jonathan Swift.

    This is thank worthy, if a man, for conscience toward God, endure grief. 1 Pet. ii. 19.

    Now is Cupid a child of conscience; he makes restitution. William Shakespeare, Merry Wives of Windsor.

    He had, against right and conscience, by shameful treachery, intruded himself into another man’s kingdom in Africk. Richard Knolles, History of the Turks.

    What you require cannot, in conscience, be deferred beyond this time. John Milton.

    Her majesty is, without question, obliged in conscience to endeavour this by her authority, as much as by her practice. Jonathan Swift, Project for the Advancement of Religion.

    Merit, and good works, is the end of man’s motion; and conscience of the same is the accomplishment of man’s rest. Francis Bacon.

    The reason why the simpler sort are moved with authority, is the conscience of their own ignorance. Richard Hooker, b. ii. s. 6.

    The sweetest cordial we receive at last,
    Is conscience of our virtuous actions past. John Denham.

    Hector was in an absolute certainty of death, and depressed with the conscience of being in an ill cause. Alexander Pope.

    Do’st thou in conscience think, tell me, Æmilia,
    That there be women do abuse their husbands,
    In such gross kind? William Shakespeare, Othello.

    They did in their consciences know, that he was not able to send them any part of it. Edward Hyde, b. viii.

    We must make a conscience in keeping the just laws of superiours. Jeremy Taylor, Holy Living.

    Why should not the one make as much conscience of betraying for gold, as the other of doing it for a crust. Roger L'Estrange.

    Children are travellers newly arrived in a strange country; we should therefore make conscience not to mislead them. John Locke.

    Why do’st thou weep? Can’st thou the conscience lack,
    To think I shall lack friends? William Shakespeare, Timon.

    Half a dozen fools are, in all conscience, as many as you should require. Jonathan Swift.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Consciencenoun

    knowledge of one's own thoughts or actions; consciousness

  2. Consciencenoun

    the faculty, power, or inward principle which decides as to the character of one's own actions, purposes, and affections, warning against and condemning that which is wrong, and approving and prompting to that which is right; the moral faculty passing judgment on one's self; the moral sense

  3. Consciencenoun

    the estimate or determination of conscience; conviction or right or duty

  4. Consciencenoun

    tenderness of feeling; pity

  5. Etymology: [F. conscience, fr. L. conscientia, fr. consciens, p. pr. of conscire to know, to be conscious; con- + scire to know. See Science.]


  1. Conscience

    Conscience is an aptitude, faculty, intuition or judgment of the intellect that distinguishes right from wrong. Moral judgment may derive from values or norms. In psychological terms conscience is often described as leading to feelings of remorse when a human commits actions that go against his/her moral values and to feelings of rectitude or integrity when actions conform to such norms. The extent to which conscience informs moral judgment before an action and whether such moral judgments are or should be based in reason has occasioned debate through much of the history of Western philosophy. Religious views of conscience usually see it as linked to a morality inherent in all humans, to a beneficent universe and/or to divinity. The diverse ritualistic, mythical, doctrinal, legal, institutional and material features of religion may not necessarily cohere with experiential, emotive, spiritual or contemplative considerations about the origin and operation of conscience. Common secular or scientific views regard the capacity for conscience as probably genetically determined, with its subject probably learned or imprinted as part of a culture.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Conscience

    kon′shens, n. the knowledge of our own acts and feelings as right or wrong: sense of duty: scrupulousness: (Shak.) understanding: the faculty or principle by which we distinguish right from wrong.—adjs. Con′science-proof, unvisited by any compunctions of conscience; Con′science-smit′ten, stung by conscience; Conscien′tious, regulated by a regard to conscience: scrupulous.—adv. Conscien′tiously.—n. Conscien′tiousness.—adj. Con′scionable, governed or regulated by conscience.—n. Con′scionableness.—adv. Con′scionably.—Conscience clause, a clause in a law, affecting religious matters, to relieve persons of conscientious scruples, esp. one to prevent their children being compelled to undergo particular religious instruction; Conscience money, money given to relieve the conscience, by discharging a claim previously evaded; Case of conscience, a question in casuistry.—Good, or Bad, conscience, an approving or reproving conscience.—In all conscience, certainly: (coll.) by all that is right and fair.—Make a matter of conscience, to act according to conscience: to have scruples about.—My conscience! a vulgar exclamation of astonishment, or an asseveration.—Speak one's conscience (Shak.), to speak frankly: to give one's opinion. [Fr.,—L. conscientia, knowledge—conscīre, to know well—con, and scīre, to know.]

The Roycroft Dictionary

  1. conscience

    1. The muzzle of the will. 2. The Pecksniffian mask of the fundamental Bill Sykes. 3. The aspiration of Rosinante to be Pegasus.

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Conscience

    The cognitive and affective processes which constitute an internalized moral governor over an individual's moral conduct.

The Foolish Dictionary, by Gideon Wurdz


    The fear of being found out.

Editors Contribution

  1. conscience

    The act, fact, quality, and ability to use our mind, soul, spirit, passion and consciousness as a form of sane, logical and rational power and motivation and a form of ethical and moral principles that govern our thoughts and actions.

    Our conscience is an important element of our mind and soul and contributes to our sense of justness, fairness, actions, motivation and authority.

    Submitted by MaryC on April 3, 2020  

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'conscience' in Nouns Frequency: #2352

How to pronounce conscience?

How to say conscience in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of conscience in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of conscience in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of conscience in a Sentence

  1. Fabrice:

    Policy is not that complicated! One only needs a clear conscience and therefore, a bad memory...

  2. George Washington:

    Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.

  3. Paul Nuttall:

    The whole world rightly condemns the use of chemical weapons in Syria, but the US attack on the Assad regime does nothing to lower tensions, nor will it hasten peace in that country, too often, rash responses to horrific situations are about the conscience of the attacker rather than a clear-headed response to an awful situation.

  4. State John Kerry:

    There is no way Congress is going to vote to lift the embargo if they're not moving with respect to issues of conscience.

  5. Jeb Bush each:

    These have been rough years for religious charities and their right of conscience, and the leading Democratic candidate recently hinted of more trouble to come. President Bill Clinton insists that when the progressive agenda encounters religious beliefs to the contrary those beliefs, quote,' have to be changed.'.

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Translations for conscience

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