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[suhb-kon-shuh s] /sʌbˈkɒn ʃəs/
existing or operating in the mind beneath or beyond consciousness:
the subconscious self.
imperfectly or not wholly conscious:
subconscious motivations.
the totality of mental processes of which the individual is not aware; unreportable mental activities.
Origin of subconscious
1825-35; sub- + conscious
Related forms
subconsciously, adverb
subconsciousness, noun
nonsubconscious, adjective
nonsubconsciously, adverb
nonsubconsciousness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for subconsciousness


acting or existing without one's awareness: subconscious motive
(psychoanal) that part of the mind which is on the fringe of consciousness and contains material of which it is possible to become aware by redirecting attention Compare preconscious (sense 2), unconscious (sense 5)
Derived Forms
subconsciously, adverb
subconsciousness, 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 subconsciousness



1823, "not wholly conscious" (implied in subconsciously), from sub- + conscious. First attested in De Quincey. The noun, in the psychological sense, is attested from 1886; earlier subconsciousness (1874).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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subconsciousness in Medicine

subconsciousness sub·con·scious·ness (sŭb-kŏn'shəs-nĭs)
The state in which mental processes take place without the conscious perception of the individual.

subconscious sub·con·scious (sŭb-kŏn'shəs)
Not wholly conscious; partially or imperfectly conscious. n.
The part of the mind below the level of conscious perception.

sub·con'scious·ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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subconsciousness in Culture

subconsciousness definition

The part of the psyche just below consciousness and capable of bursting into consciousness. For example, a repressed sexual desire is part of our subconsciousness, although we may at some time become conscious of it.

Note: The subconscious is not the same as the unconscious. Blinking, for example, is usually unconscious and occasionally conscious, but never subconscious.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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