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un- +‎ conscious



unconscious (comparative more unconscious, superlative most unconscious)

  1. Not awake; having no awareness.
    Synonyms: insentient, oblivious, out of it, out on one's feet, unaware, down for the count, lost to the world
    After the anesthetist administered the general anesthetic the patient was unconscious.
  2. (psychology) Without directed thought or awareness.
    Synonym: (dated) subconscious
    My sudden fright was an unconscious response.
    • 1884, Margaret Oliphant, The Wizard's Son:
      It was intolerable, he felt, to sit and eat in presence of that silent figure partly turned away from him, jotting down the different amounts on a bit of paper, and absorbed in that occupation as if unconscious of his presence.
    • 2023 March 8, Gareth Dennis, “The Reshaping of things to come...”, in RAIL, number 978, page 49:
      Reshaping [of British Railways] was far from perfect. It was tainted by statistical overreach, the unconscious biases of its author, and by the political demands being placed upon the BRB by government.
  3. (sports) engaged in skilled performance without conscious control.
    Synonyms: in the zone, on a roll
    • 1998, Charles Rosen, The Cockroach Basketball League, page 144:
      Sam is unconscious, filling it, drilling it from every conceivable angle. Lem is awful and Cooper seems confused. Josh shoots too often.
    • 1999, Joseph Leininger, Terry Whalin, Lessons from the Pit: A Successful Veteran of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, page 10:
      "I was unconscious," the basketball player gushes. "It seemed like everything I threw up toward the basket went straight in."
    • 2002, Alexander Wolff, Big Game, Small World: A Basketball Adventure, page 292:
      Someone who has reeled off a string of baskets will say, "I was unconscious," as if he were following the Zen injunction to be mindful while suspending thought.

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unconscious (plural unconsciouses)

  1. (psychology) That part of mind that is not consciously perceived.
    Synonyms: subconscious, subconsciousness, subconscious mind
    • 1981, William Irwin Thompson, The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light: Mythology, Sexuality and the Origins of Culture, London: Rider/Hutchinson & Co., page 135:
      Because the unconscious is outside time, it can perceive transformations beyond the limits of the ego.

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Further reading[edit]

  • "unconscious" in Raymond Williams, Keywords (revised), 1983, Fontana Press, page 320.