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[kon-shuh s-nis] /ˈkɒn ʃəs nɪs/
the state of being conscious; awareness of one's own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, etc.
the thoughts and feelings, collectively, of an individual or of an aggregate of people:
the moral consciousness of a nation.
full activity of the mind and senses, as in waking life:
to regain consciousness after fainting.
awareness of something for what it is; internal knowledge:
consciousness of wrongdoing.
concern, interest, or acute awareness:
class consciousness.
the mental activity of which a person is aware as contrasted with unconscious mental processes.
Philosophy. the mind or the mental faculties as characterized by thought, feelings, and volition.
raise one's consciousness, to increase one's awareness and understanding of one's own needs, behavior, attitudes, etc., especially as a member of a particular social or political group.
Origin of consciousness
1625-35; conscious + -ness
Related forms
underconsciousness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for consciousness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The consciousness of recent misconduct filled her with extreme dread.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • The allusion and a consciousness of Vancouver brought a smile into Viviette's eyes.

    Viviette William J. Locke
  • Riley's eyes had opened in a sudden movement of consciousness.

    Two Thousand Miles Below Charles Willard Diffin
  • Yet the consciousness of my situation does not always make me sad.

  • Slowly the involved sentences burned their way into his consciousness.

    Out of the Depths Robert Ames Bennet
Word Origin and History for consciousness

1630s, "internal knowledge," from conscious + -ness. Meaning "state of being aware" is from 1746.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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consciousness in Medicine

consciousness con·scious·ness (kŏn'shəs-nĭs)

  1. The state or condition of being conscious.

  2. A sense of one's personal or collective identity, especially the complex of attitudes, beliefs, and sensitivities held by or considered characteristic of an individual or a group.

  3. In psychoanalysis, the conscious.

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