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[self-kon-shuh s, self-] /ˈsɛlfˈkɒn ʃəs, ˌsɛlf-/
excessively aware of being observed by others.
conscious of oneself or one's own being.
Origin of self-conscious
Related forms
self-consciously, adverb
self-consciousness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for self-conscious
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He will chaff me about George Conway, so it makes me self-conscious when anybody talks about him.

    East of Suez William Somerset Maugham
  • In this vast but connected universe we are not the only self-conscious beings.

    The Comrade In White W. H. Leathem
  • We really can refrain from thrusting our children any more into those hot-beds of the self-conscious disease, schools.

  • The boy drew himself up with a self-conscious air as he replied.

    Almost A Man Mary Wood-Allen
  • Adam Smith expressed the process, named it, idealized it and made it self-conscious.

    A Preface to Politics Walter Lippmann
British Dictionary definitions for self-conscious


unduly aware of oneself as the object of the attention of others; embarrassed
conscious of one's existence
Derived Forms
self-consciously, adverb
self-consciousness, noun
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 self-conscious

1680s, "aware of one's action," a word of the English Enlightenment (Locke was using it by 1690), from self- + conscious. Morbid sense of "preoccupied with one's own personality" is attested from 1834 (in J.S. Mill). Related: Self-consciously; self-consciousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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