Consent Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

Have you ever wondered about the meaning of consent? Read here for a complete guide to the word consent, its definition, and more.

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

Consent is an incredibly important word. It has been around in the English language for centuries. However, it has become more commonplace in recent years as the center of important cultural conversations about sexual health and safety. 

The word consent has a few meanings that change slightly depending on context. In addition to its literal definitions, there are several commonly used phrases that contain the word which carry their own meanings. 

So, today’s word of the day is consent. After you read this complete guide to the word consent, you’ll have a solid understanding of its definitions, its history, the phrases in which it is used, and more. Let’s get started.

What’s the Definition of Consent?

The word consent (pronounced kənˈsent) is fairly straightforward as far as definitions go. It has a noun form and a verb form, and their definitions only vary slightly. Here is the definition of consent in each of its forms. 

As a noun:

  • Approval or voluntary agreement to something, permission for something to happen

As a verb:

  • The act of giving approval to something or agreeing to it, the act of giving permission for something to happen

Consent is an incredibly important word. It carries various implications in different contexts and provides a more formal version of the word permission. This formality normally finds its place in the language surrounding laws and government, so it is incredibly important for our freedom and laws. 

What is the History of the Word Consent?

Consent is quite an old word with origins in Latin. The root word sentire (meaning feel) and the prefix con (meaning together) combine to make the Latin cōnsentīre, which literally translates to “to feel together.” 

This definition would be more in line with the modern phrase “common consent,” which refers to the agreement of all. 

This Latin word made its way into the Old French language. The French consente was its noun form and consentir was its verb form. In Old French, the Middle English language adopted this word, giving us the verb form in the 13th century and the noun form in the 14th century as the Middle English period was coming to a close. 

That gave us the modern definition of the word consent. The word was incredibly popular in the following few centuries, especially in the phrase “common consent.” Since then, the use of the word has actually declined, but it still remains an important part of our language and discourse. 

What Are Some Examples of Consent in a Sentence?

To help bring clarity to the definitions of consent, here are some example sentences that use each form of the word. 

Mom and Dad, you both need to sign the consent form in order for me to go on the field trip to New York next month. 

We can’t perform the medical treatment without your consent. 

At this point, it’s pretty much common consent that Tom Brady is the best quarterback of all time. 

Performing any sexual act with somebody is not okay unless there is mutual and enthusiastic consent. 

In this state, minors cannot get a tattoo without parental consent.

What Are Some Synonyms for Consent? 

Here is a list of synonyms for the word consent that you might find in a thesaurus:

  • Acquiesce
  • Comply
  • Allow
  • Approve
  • Subscribe
  • Authorization
  • Approval
  • Accede 
  • Concurrence 
  • Permission 
  • Understanding

What Are Some Antonyms? 

Here are some antonyms for the word consent:

  • Denial 
  • Disagreement
  • Disapproval
  • Dissent
  • Refusal
  • Reject
  • Veto
  • Disallow

What Are Some Common Phrases or Collocations Using the Word Consent?

In the modern day, there are many common phrases and collocations that include the word consent. Each is frequently used in more official, professional contexts, and they carry their own unique and important meanings. Let’s break down a few of them. 

First, we have common consent, which was also mentioned above. Common consent is the general agreement of the public about a certain thing. It can also be called the general consensus. 

There is also informed consent. Informed consent is an important aspect of medical practice, medical ethics, and medical law. Informed consent is the idea that a patient should be given sufficient information about a medical procedure so that they can make an informed decision about whether to consent to it. 

Written consent is another common collocation. As the name implies, written consent is a form of consent given in writing, not just verbally. In many situations, written consent is required so that documented proof of the consent can exist. This is why there are consent forms for various activities.

Then, we have parental consent. If something requires parental consent, it is requiring that the child’s parents give prior consent for whatever activity the child is about to do.  

Sexual Consent 

Next, there is the age of consent. The age of consent is a common phrase in the law that refers to the age that a person is legally considered to be competent enough to consent to sexual acts. If an adult has sex with a person under the age of consent, that is illegal, even if the minor verbally consented to the sexual act.

Finally, we have consent, plain and simple. In many settings, consent specifically refers to permission and agreement about a sexual act or sexual intercourse. If a person commits a sexual act toward another person without that person’s consent, it is considered sexual assault.


The word consent is a very important word in the English language. It holds significant legal meaning in a variety of contexts, and it is important for maintaining our freedom and autonomy. 

Now you know everything you need to know about the word consent, its definitions, its history, and how it is used. Use it confidently in your writing and speech, and if you need a refresher, come back to this article for all of the information you need. 


  1. Consent English Definition and Meaning | Lexico 
  2. Consent | Cambridge English Dictionary 
  3. What Informed Consent Really Means | Association of American Medical Colleges