Conscious is an adjective that simply means alert and awake. If you fall from a tree and smack your head on the side of the wheelbarrow, there's a good chance you won't be conscious afterward.

Conscious is a Latin word whose original meaning was “knowing" or "aware.” So a conscious person has an awareness of her environment and her own existence and thoughts. If you're "self-conscious," you're overly aware and even embarrassed by how you think you look or act. But that sounds better than being unconscious, or totally unaware and out of it.

Definitions of conscious
  1. adjective
    knowing and perceiving; having awareness of surroundings and sensations and thoughts
    “remained conscious during the operation”
    conscious of his faults”
    “became conscious that he was being followed”
    not in a state of sleep; completely conscious
    aware, cognisant, cognizant
    (sometimes followed by `of') having or showing knowledge or understanding or realization or perception
    self-aware, self-conscious
    aware of yourself as an individual or of your own being and actions and thoughts
    partially conscious; not completely aware of sensations
    consciously perceiving
    sensible, sensitive
    able to feel or perceive
    of your own free will or design; done by choice; not forced or compelled
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    not conscious; lacking awareness and the capacity for sensory perception as if asleep or dead
    in a state of sleep
    incognizant, unaware
    (often followed by `of') not aware
    unconscious from a blow or shock or intoxication
    in a state of deep and usually prolonged unconsciousness; unable to respond to external stimuli
    (used of things) lacking sense or awareness
    insensible, senseless
    unresponsive to stimulation
    KO'd, kayoed, knocked out, out, stunned
    knocked unconscious by a heavy blow
    concerning mental functioning that is not represented in consciousness
    in a state of partial coma
    just below the level of consciousness
    incapable of physical sensation
    involuntary, nonvoluntary, unvoluntary
    not subject to the control of the will
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  2. adjective
    (followed by `of') showing realization or recognition of something
    “few voters seem conscious of the issue's importance”
    conscious of having succeeded”
    aware, cognisant, cognizant
    (sometimes followed by `of') having or showing knowledge or understanding or realization or perception
  3. adjective
    intentionally conceived
    “a conscious effort to speak more slowly”
    “a conscious policy”
    synonyms: witting
    resulting from one's intentions
Commonly confused words

conscious / conscience

Both words have to do with the mind, but it's more important to be conscious, or awake, than conscience, or aware of right and wrong. Remain conscious while listening to your friend's moral dilemma so you can use your conscience to give good advice.

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