conscience


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

have a clean conscience

To be guiltless or have no feelings of guilt or remorse over something. Don't you dare accuse me of causing this, I have a clean conscience! Some people think I should have treated him better, but I have a clean conscience in this whole affair.
See also: clean, conscience, have

(one's) conscience is clean

One is guiltless or has no feelings of guilt or remorse over something. Don't you dare accuse me of causing this, my conscience is clean! Some people think I should have treated him better, but my conscience is clean in this whole affair.
See also: clean, conscience

(one's) conscience is clear

One is guiltless or has no feelings of guilt or remorse over something. Don't you dare accuse me of causing this, my conscience is clear! Some people think I should have treated him better, but my conscience is clear in this whole affair.
See also: clear, conscience

eat (away) at (someone's) conscience

To increasingly cause or inspire troubled feelings of guilt, especially for an extended period of time. Stealing that money from my parents has been eating away at my conscience for the past month. Don't let it eat at your conscience, anyone would have done the same thing in that situation.
See also: conscience, eat

have (something) on (one's) conscience

To have persistent feelings of guilt about something, such as an act of wrongdoing. It's because of your cruelty that your brother died. I hope you have it on your conscience for the rest of your days!
See also: conscience, have, on

be on (one's) conscience

To be a persistent cause or source of guilt, such as an act of wrongdoing. It's because of your cruelty that your brother died. I hope it's on your conscience for the rest of your days!
See also: conscience, on

conscience money

Money paid to another in an attempt to alleviate the payer's guilty conscience. I felt so badly about breaking my mom's lamp that I eventually gave her conscience money, in the hopes that it would make me feel better.
See also: conscience, money

in (all) conscience

Without guilt. Usually said to emphasize fairness in a transaction. Primarily heard in UK. In all conscience, I can't charge you more than the car is worth. No, I can't, in conscience, give you a better grade when you put such little effort into the assignment!
See also: conscience

a guilty conscience needs no accuser

A feeling of guilt and remorse can be so strong that it will prompt an offender to confess, even if no one is requiring him or her to do so. Gary felt so guilty after taking the money out of Bill's wallet that he confessed and returned it a day later. A guilty conscience needs no accuser.
See also: conscience, guilty, needs

Conscience does make cowards of us all.

Prov. People sometimes fear to do what they want or what they believe is necessary because they think it is wrong. (From Shakespeare's play, Hamlet.) Alan: I really want to go to the ball game with you guys this afternoon, but it just doesn't seem right to skip work to do it. Fred: Conscience does make cowards of us all, right, Alan?
See also: all, conscience, coward, does, make, of

A guilty conscience needs no accuser.

Prov. If you have done something wrong and feel guilty about it, you will be uncomfortable and want to confess even if no one accuses you of wrongdoing. Even though no one noticed him eating most of the cookies, Peter felt so bad about it that he told us what he had done. A guilty conscience needs no accuser.
See also: conscience, guilty, needs

have a clear conscience (about someone or something)

 and have a clean conscience (about someone or something)
to be free of guilt about someone or something. I'm sorry that John got the blame. I have a clean conscience about the whole affair. I have a clear conscience about John and his problems. I didn't do it. I swear to that with a clean conscience.
See also: clear, conscience, have

in (all) good conscience

Fig. having good motives; displaying motives that will not result in a guilty conscience. In all good conscience, I could not recommend that you buy this car. In good conscience, she could not accept the reward. She had only been acting as a good citizen should.
See also: conscience, good

in good conscience

(slightly formal)
without feeling guilty I could not in good conscience recommend a family member for the job.
See also: conscience, good

prick somebody's conscience

to make someone feel guilty Seeing pictures of starving children pricks my conscience, but I rarely give money to charity.
See also: conscience, prick

have a clear conscience

Also, have a clean conscience. Feel free of guilt or responsibility. For example, I have a clear conscience-I did all I could to help. This idiom is also put as one's conscience is clear or clean , as in His conscience is clean about telling the whole story. The adjective clear has been used in the sense of "innocent" since about 1400; clean was so used from about 1300.
See also: clear, conscience, have

in conscience

Also, in all good conscience. In all truth or fairness, as in I can't in conscience say that the meeting went well, or In all good conscience we can't support their stand on disarmament. [Late 1500s]
See also: conscience

in (all good) conscience

In all fairness; by any reasonable standard.
See also: conscience

on (one's) conscience

Causing one to feel guilty or uneasy.
See also: conscience, on
References in classic literature ?
If I could eat grass I would not need a conscience, for nothing could then tempt me to devour babies and lambs.
I am ready," quoth Reason, "to rest with thee ever so that Conscience be our counsellor.
Again he saw the field full of folk , and to them now Conscience was preaching, and at his words many began to repent them of their evil deeds.
I suppose that Uncle Dave has a conscience too, hasn't he?
Is there not a sort of blood shed when the conscience is wounded?
A very few, as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men, serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it.
To this his avarice answered, That his conscience should have considered the matter before, when he deprived poor Jones of his L500.
By this friendly aid of Fear, Conscience obtained a compleat victory in the mind of Black George, and, after making him a few compliments on his honesty, forced him to deliver the money to Jones.
Yea, my friend, the bad conscience art thou of thy neighbours; for they are unworthy of thee.
But next morning--for his conscience was one of those persistent consciences--he began to have doubts again.
He continued the treatment throughout the day, and by dinner-time had arranged everything with his conscience in the most satisfactory manner possible.
lt;< Il y a dans un seul et meme flux de conscience deux intentionnalites, formant une unite indissoluble, s'exigeant l'une l'autre comme deux cotes d'une seule et meme chose, entrelacees l'une a l'autre.
Rather, they are valuable because they better illustrate the fundamental issue driving the more routine instances of conflict between individual and institutional conscience, (15) which, although less serious, have no less moral validity.
It therefore does not explain respect for conscience in terms of truth tracking.
This has been a very difficult blog entry to write, but I feel in good conscience that I needed to do it.