The Meaning of Conscience: What It Is and How To Use It

If someone has a strong moral conscience, what does that mean? This article will cover the meaning of conscience and its origin.

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The word conscience is often confused with the word conscious, but what is the difference? This article will teach you how the word conscience differs from the word conscious, which refers to the quality of being awake. 

What Does the Word Conscience Mean?

According to Dictionary, the noun conscience refers to the inner sense of morality and ethics that controls a person. This can be considered a part of the superego in the Freudian organization of the Id, Ego, and Superego in psychoanalysis. The word conscience is two syllables (con-science), and the pronunciation of conscience is ˈkɒnʃəns.

The noun conscience is often confused with the word conscious, which is an adjective. Conscious refers to the state of being awake and present.

What Are Translations of the Word Conscience?

People in many countries have moral compasses, so they need words to refer to them! By studying this list of translations of the word conscience from the website Nice Translator, you can learn how to talk to your non-English-speaking friends about the subject of conscience, moral compasses, and ethics. These interesting conversations would not be possible if you did not know translations of the word conscience.

  • Turkish – vicdan
  • Maltese – kuxjenza
  • Norwegian – samvittighet
  • Arabic – ضمير
  • Greek – συνείδηση
  • Portuguese – consciência
  • Croatian – savjest
  • Danish – samvittighed
  • Romanian – conștiință
  • Latvian – sirdsapziņa
  • German – Gewissen
  • Lithuanian – sąžinė
  • Icelandic – samviska
  • French – conscience
  • Spanish – conciencia
  • Japanese – 良心
  • Hebrew – מצפון
  • Russian – совесть
  • Malay – hati nurani
  • Chinese | S – 良心
  • Slovenian – vest
  • Vietnamese – lương tâm
  • Bulgarian – съвест
  • Serbian – Savest
  • Thai – มโนธรรม
  • Swedish – samvete
  • Finnish – omatunto
  • Dutch – geweten
  • Korean – 양심
  • Cantonese – 良心
  • Hindi – अंतःकरण
  • Catalan – consciència
  • Slovak – svedomie
  • Hungarian – lelkiismeret
  • Polish – sumienie
  • Swahili – Dhamiri
  • Persian – وجدان
  • Estonian – südametunnistus
  • Chinese | T – 良心
  • Ukrainian – совість
  • Afrikaans – Gewete
  • Czech – svědomí
  • Italian – coscienza
  • Welsh – cydwybod

What Is the Etymology of the Word Conscience?

According to Your Dictionary, the word conscience has been used since 13th century Middle English. This word has its roots in Old French and the Latin cōnscientia. This Latin term comes from the roots cōnsciēns and cōnscient, which is the present participle of cōnscīre. These Latin words have Proto-Indo-European roots, specifically the root skei which became scire.

How Is the Word Conscience Used in a Sentence?

By looking at examples of conscience in a sentence, you can begin to learn how to use this new word in speech or in writing. Have you ever tried to use the word conscience in a sentence before? It is often confused with the word conscious, so be careful not to make this common mistake!  

Rebecca still had a guilty conscience following the horrible things she said about her classmate in December. She couldn’t bring herself to apologize, as her ego and reputation at the school were getting in the way.

She may have been expelled, but at least she had a clear conscience. She couldn’t live knowing that she was the one who set the science classroom on fire anymore, so she had to come clean to the administration. 

The man still had pangs of conscience and a feeling of guilt years after his drunk driving accident. He wished that his work on his sobriety, his openness about the accident, and his advocacy for those affected by drunk driving could make these feelings go away, but they couldn’t. 

He finally found freedom of conscience after coming clean about the harassment incident. He knew what he did was wrong. Even though he was fired, he needed to reveal the truth to move on with his life.

Her strong social conscience made her stand up for underdogs and fight against bullies. She couldn’t stand back as an innocent bystander and not interfere.

She could not in good conscience leave the lost dog out on the streets, but her parents would be angry if she brought it in the house. She snuck him in through the window and decided to take him to the vet in the morning. 

What Are Synonyms of the Word Conscience?

Power Thesaurus states that there are plenty of words a person can use in place of the word conscience. If someone does not know what you mean by the word conscience, you can use one of the synonyms listed below to explain what you mean. 

Synonyms can also be useful if you are writing something about having a conscience but don’t want to repeat the word conscience multiple times:

  • animating principle
  • awareness
  • beliefs
  • bosom
  • breast
  • call of duty
  • categorical imperative
  • censor
  • character
  • compunction
  • conscientious
  • consciousness
  • decency
  • demur
  • duty
  • elan vital
  • ethical
  • ethics
  • grace
  • guilt
  • heart
  • hesitation
  • honor
  • inner guide
  • inner voice
  • integrity
  • knowledge
  • mind
  • moral sense
  • morality
  • morals
  • natural law
  • principle
  • principles
  • psyche
  • qualm
  • qualms
  • regret
  • reluctance
  • reluctancy
  • remorse
  • repentance
  • right and wrong
  • scruple
  • scrupled
  • scruples
  • sense of duty
  • sense of honor
  • sense of propriety
  • sense of right and wrong
  • shame
  • soul
  • squeam
  • standards
  • still small voice
  • superego
  • values


Conscience (ˈkɑːn-ʃəns) is a noun which refers to a person’s moral judgment. This moral compass leads them to a sense of right action, behavior, moral principles, or ethical nature. This often refers to Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic concepts of the Id, Ego, and Superego because Freud stated that the conscience was a part of the superego.


  1. Conscience synonyms – 939 Words and Phrases for Conscience | Power Thesaurus 
  2. Conscience | Nice Translator 
  3. Conscience Definition & Meaning | 
  4. Conscience Meaning | Best 19 Definitions of Conscience | Your Dictionary