American English

Definition of conscience noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable, uncountable] the part of your mind that tells you whether your actions are right or wrong to have a clear/guilty conscience (= to feel that you have done right/wrong) This is a matter of individual conscience (= everyone must make their own judgment about it). He won't let it trouble his conscience. see also social conscience
  2. 2[uncountable, countable] a guilty feeling about something you have done or failed to do She was seized by a sudden pang of conscience. I have a terrible conscience about it.
  3. 3[uncountable] the fact of behaving in a way that you feel is right even though this may cause problems freedom of conscience (= the freedom to do what you believe to be right) Emilia is the voice of conscience in the play. see also prisoner of conscience
  4. Idioms
    in (all/good) conscience (formal)
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    believing your actions to be fair synonym honestly We cannot in all conscience refuse to help.
    on your conscience
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    making you feel guilty for doing or failing to do something I'll write and apologize. I've had it on my conscience for weeks. It's still on my conscience that I didn't warn him in time.
    prick your conscience, your conscience pricks you
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    to make you feel guilty about something; to feel guilty about something Her conscience pricked her as she lied to her sister.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: conscience