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conscience

[kon-shuh ns] /ˈkɒn ʃəns/
noun
1.
the inner sense of what is right or wrong in one's conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action:
to follow the dictates of conscience.
2.
the complex of ethical and moral principles that controls or inhibits the actions or thoughts of an individual.
3.
an inhibiting sense of what is prudent:
I'd eat another piece of pie but my conscience would bother me.
5.
Obsolete. consciousness; self-knowledge.
6.
Obsolete. strict and reverential observance.
Idioms
7.
have something on one's conscience, to feel guilty about something, as an act that one considers wrong:
She behaves as if she had something on her conscience.
8.
in all conscience,
  1. in all reason and fairness.
  2. certainly; assuredly.
Also, in conscience.
Origin
1175-1225
1175-1225; Middle English < Anglo-French < Latin conscientia knowledge, awareness, conscience. See con-, science
Related forms
conscienceless, adjective
consciencelessly, adverb
consciencelessness, noun
subconscience, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for conscience
  • Heirloom wedding gowns are a lovely tradition that reflects your eco-conscience by avoiding the consumption of new raw materials.
  • Rooms with a conscience: recycling bins and complimentary shade-grown coffee.
  • Even now, he says he is proud to have served his country with a clear conscience.
  • Interior vacillations of mind and spirit are inevitable in any grader with professional dedication and a conscience.
  • Try to follow as many recommendations as you can, in good conscience.
  • But there has to be a community with a conscience using it.
  • In that case, it makes killing easier on the conscience.
  • Every culture feels the call of conscience-the voice of internal self-criticism.
  • But those gestures are designed, knowingly or not, to salve the conscience of the public.
  • If they fail to plan ahead turn up for the make up, you have a clean conscience.
British Dictionary definitions for conscience

conscience

/ˈkɒnʃəns/
noun
1.
  1. the sense of right and wrong that governs a person's thoughts and actions
  2. regulation of one's actions in conformity to this sense
  3. a supposed universal faculty of moral insight
2.
conscientiousness; diligence
3.
a feeling of guilt or anxiety: he has a conscience about his unkind action
4.
(obsolete) consciousness
5.
in conscience, in all conscience
  1. with regard to truth and justice
  2. certainly
6.
on one's conscience, causing feelings of guilt or remorse
Derived Forms
conscienceless, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French, from Latin conscientia knowledge, consciousness, from conscīre to know; see conscious
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
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Word Origin and History for conscience
n.

early 13c., from Old French conscience "conscience, innermost thoughts, desires, intentions; feelings" (12c.), from Latin conscientia "knowledge within oneself, sense of right, a moral sense," from conscientem (nominative consciens), present participle of conscire "be (mutually) aware," from com- "with," or "thoroughly" (see com-) + scire "to know" (see science).

Probably a loan-translation of Greek syneidesis, literally "with-knowledge." Sometimes nativized in Old English/Middle English as inwit. Russian also uses a loan-translation, so-vest, "conscience," literally "with-knowledge."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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conscience in Medicine

conscience con·science (kŏn'shəns)
n.

  1. The awareness of a moral or ethical aspect to one's conduct together with the urge to prefer right over wrong.

  2. The part of the superego that judges the ethical nature of one's actions and thoughts and then transmits such determinations to the ego for consideration.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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conscience in the Bible

that faculty of the mind, or inborn sense of right and wrong, by which we judge of the moral character of human conduct. It is common to all men. Like all our other faculties, it has been perverted by the Fall (John 16:2; Acts 26:9; Rom. 2:15). It is spoken of as "defiled" (Titus 1:15), and "seared" (1 Tim. 4:2). A "conscience void of offence" is to be sought and cultivated (Acts 24:16; Rom. 9:1; 2 Cor. 1:12; 1 Tim. 1:5, 19; 1 Pet. 3:21).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with conscience
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for conscience

a personal sense of the moral content of one's own conduct, intentions, or character with regard to a feeling of obligation to do right or be good. Conscience, usually informed by acculturation and instruction, is thus generally understood to give intuitively authoritative judgments regarding the moral quality of single actions

Learn more about conscience with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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