Date: 1200-1300
Language: Old French
Origin: Latin conscientia, from conscire 'to be conscious (of being guilty)', from com- ( COM-) + scire 'to know'


con‧science [uncountable and countable]
1 the part of your mind that tells you whether what you are doing is morally right or wrong
guilty/troubled conscience (=a guilty feeling, because you have done something wrong)
It was his guilty conscience that made him offer to help.
Well, at least I can face them all with a clear conscience (=when you know that you have done nothing wrong).
a film with a social conscience (=a moral sense of how society should be)
prisoner of conscience (=someone who is in prison because of their political or religious beliefs)
I can't tell you what to do - it's a matter of conscience (=something that you must make a moral judgment about).
a crisis of conscience among medical staff (=a situation in which it is very difficult to decide what is the right thing to do)
The dog's sad look pricked her conscience (=made her feel guilty) and she took him home.
! Do not confuse with consciousness (=the condition of being awake and aware of thoughts and feelings).
2 a guilty feeling that you have about something bad you have done
twinge/pang of conscience
Ian felt a pang of conscience at having misjudged her.
have no conscience (about something) (=not feel guilty about something)
They've no conscience at all about cheating.

on your conscience

if you have something on your conscience, it makes you feel guilty:
He didn't want somebody's death on his conscience.
Could you live with that on your conscience?

not in (all/good) conscience

formal if you cannot in all conscience do something, you cannot do it because you think it is wrong:
I couldn't in all conscience tell him that his job was safe.

Dictionary results for "conscience"
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