Conscience vs. Conscious


Conscience

 

What’s the difference between conscience and conscious? They stem from the same Latin root, but their usage is distinct. Writers occasionally confuse the two words, but if you remain conscious, you’ll likely be able to say with a clear conscience that you know the difference.
Conscience and conscious both come from the Latin word conscius; the word elements mean “with” and “two know.” (Yes, the -science in conscience means the same thing as science itself.)
Conscience is a noun meaning “sense of the quality of one’s character and conduct,” “adherence to moral principles,” and “consideration of fairness and justice.” Confusion between conscience and conscious occurs because the latter word is sometimes used as a noun synonymous with consciousness, meaning “mental awareness,” though the longer form is usually employed.

 

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