From Middle English conscience, from Old French conscience, from Latin conscientia (“knowledge within oneself”), from consciens, present participle of conscire (“to know, to be conscious (of wrong)”), from com- (“together”) + scire (“to know”).
- The ethical or moral sense of right and wrong, chiefly as it affects a person’s own behaviour and forms their attitude to their past actions.
- Your conscience is your highest authority.
- 1949, Albert Einstein, as quoted by Virgil Henshaw in Albert Einstein: Philosopher Scientist,
- Never do anything against conscience, even if the state demands it.
- 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 18, in The China Governess:
- ‘Then the father has a great fight with his terrible conscience,’ said Munday with granite seriousness. ‘Should he make a row with the police […]? Or should he say nothing about it and condone brutality for fear of appearing in the newspapers?
- (chiefly fiction, narratology) 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.
- (obsolete) Consciousness; thinking; awareness, especially self-awareness.
- c. 1599–1602 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene i]:
- Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought.
- a good conscience is a soft pillow
- bad conscience
- conscience clause
- conscience money
- conscience round
- conscience vote
- examination of conscience
- guilty conscience
- in all conscience
- in conscience
- in good conscience
- liberty of conscience
- make conscience
- my conscience
- of all conscience
- on one's conscience
- pang of conscience
- prisoner of conscience
- speak one's conscience
good, bad, guilty. A good conscience is one free from guilt, a bad conscience the opposite.
for reasons of conscience, to make a matter of conscience, the dictates of one's conscience
- “conscience”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.
- “conscience”, in The Century Dictionary […], New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911, →OCLC.
Inherited from Old French conscience, borrowed from Latin cōnscientia (“knowledge within oneself”), from consciens, present participle of conscire (“to know, to be conscious (of wrong)”), from com- (“together”) + scire (“to know”).
conscience f (plural consciences)
- “conscience”, in Trésor de la langue française informatisé [Digitized Treasury of the French Language], 2012.
conscience (plural consciences)
- cunscience (Anglo-Norman)
- la conscience ne remort point a ces riches homme
- the conscience doesn't bite these rich men