conscience

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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 them 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, no

conscience does make cowards of us all

The conscience often prevents one from doing things that one wants to do (perhaps things that wrong or inappropriate). The phrase comes from Shakespeare's Hamlet. I really want to insult him back, but I just can't. Ugh, conscience does make cowards of us all.
See also: all, conscience, coward, does, make, of

prick (one's) conscience

To cause one niggling feelings of guilt or remorse. It pricked my conscience to see my brother being led away in handcuffs, but I know it was the right thing to call the cops on him. Their promotional material is carefully crafted to prick the conscience of anyone who picks it up.
See also: conscience, prick

in good conscience

With respectable motives that would not cause one to feel guilty. Despite the promise of massive bonuses, I could not in good conscience sell our customers sub-prime mortgages. I have to be able to sign off on the company's accounts in good conscience.
See also: conscience, good

on (one's) conscience

Causing one persistent, nagging guilt for something one did or failed to do. It's because of your cruelty that your brother died. I hope you have it on your conscience for the rest of your days! I really regret the way I treated her in high school. It's still on my conscience to this day.
See also: conscience, on

prisoner of conscience

Someone imprisoned for their political or religious beliefs or other ideologies or actions associated therewith. Arrested for using social media to condemn the actions of the dictator, they are now prisoners of conscience.
See also: conscience, of, prisoner

search (one's) conscience

To carefully consider or think about one's own motivations for doing something. We're asking upper management to search their consciences and realize that this decision will negatively impact every employee in the company. I know you're hurt right now, but search your conscience—you don't want to go through with this.
See also: conscience, search

search (one's) heart

To carefully consider or think about one's own emotions about or motivations for something. We're asking upper management to search their hearts and realize that this decision will negatively impact every employee in the company. I know you're hurt right now, but search your heart—you know that breaking up was the right thing to do.
See also: heart, search

have a clear 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 clear conscience! Some people think I should have treated him better, but I have a clear conscience in this whole affair.
See also: clear, conscience, have

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, no

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

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

prisoner of conscience

a person detained or imprisoned because of their religious or political beliefs.
This phrase is particularly associated with the campaigns of Amnesty International, a human-rights organization.
See also: conscience, of, prisoner

in all/good ˈconscience

while being honest or just: You cannot in all conscience think that is fair pay.
See also: all, conscience, good

on your ˈconscience

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.
See also: conscience, on

prick your ˈconscience

,

your ˈconscience pricks you

make you feel guilty about something; feel guilty about something: Her conscience pricked her as she lied to her sister.
See also: conscience, prick

search your ˈheart/ˈsoul/ˈconscience

(formal) think carefully about your feelings or your reasons for doing something: If I searched my heart I’d probably find that I don’t always tell the truth. ▶ ˈheart-searching, ˈsoul-searching nouns: His divorce forced him to do a lot of soul-searching.

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

clear conscience, to have a

To feel free from blame, obligation, or a similar burden because one is guiltless (or so believes). The sixteenth-century writer John Lyly used the term several times in his Euphues (1580)—“a cleere conscience is a sure card”—and the same phrase turned up in James Howell’s proverb collection of 1659. Nearly a century later Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Keep Conscience clear, then never fear” (Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1749).
See also: clear, have

dictates of conscience

The guiding principles of what one believes is right. The word “dictate” has been so used, for the authoritative words of law, scripture, and the like, since the late sixteenth century. In 1656 Archbishop John Bramhall wrote, “Contrarie to the dictate of his conscience.”
See also: conscience, dictate, of
References in periodicals archive ?
Over a millennium before the European colonialist onslaught--whichever powers brought them to Africa's shores: Ulu, Ogun, the irascible and jealous Jehovah of missionary Christianity, or whatever spirit animates conscienceless and rapacious greed--we were all beseeched by the messages of the Gnostic Gospels hidden in the sands of Nag Hammadi:
He does not add that there would be plenty of room for scoundrels, opportunists, and conscienceless careerists of a different stripe.
This association of goodness, purity, and ethical judgment with Hildds Christianity and "defilement," "evil," and conscienceless passivity with the Japanese sensibility, however, could lead some to argue that the source of moral compromise implicit in these war crimes lies in the very nature of this Japanese sensibility.
Too many police officers forget what it's like to be at the mercy of an armed, conscienceless criminal--when he himself is unarmed.
As Spolsky (1997) stated, "we must make sure that gatekeeping processes remain under responsible and challengeable human control and not be relegated to the automatic and conscienceless power of mechanical self-propelling tests" (p.
It turned out that the "market did not know any better" as they said, was ruled by greed and ran by conscienceless speculators who proved what we already know: the largest robberies are carried out in broad daylight.
Also the introduction of harvesting machines will make this accusation superfluous and obsolete as far as work ethics is concerned; no slavery to conscienceless machines!
There is a perfectly sound book to be written about Shakespeare's changing religious views, from his early Creationism and endorsement of the Great Chain of Being to his reluctantly evolving, horrified sense (stimulated by such conscienceless villains as Iago and Edmund) that there may be nothing transcendent in the universe beyond Nature.
It would be absurd to suppose that a group of conscienceless people, acting wrongfully in a coordinated way, with all their wills concerted, would be exempt from guilt if none of them felt any guilt, either individual or collective.
Moreover, he felt that to do business with "a crafty, unprincipled, conscienceless, murderous group" would compromise American principles.
It should rather be called compulsory freedom; for here the State exercises force against the folly and indolence of the conscienceless parents who would leave their children to grow up like mushrooms....
It is written for readers who are committed to the general positions of the Left--the tacit assumption being that only the Left has ever offered anything worth criticizing, and that the Right is concerned with little more than greed and hypocrisy and the naked exercise of conscienceless power by unaccountable elites.
In this fast-paced, blow-'em-up, smash'em-up sci-fi adventure, planets are being destroyed by a conscienceless savage creature called "The Ghost of Destruction." Enter the young refugee Snow, a mysterious boy with a scarred face.
Walter cannot be both a law-abiding citizen and a conscienceless, cold-blooded murderer.
Such activity was said to be carried out by "unscrupulous," "conscienceless," and "irresponsible" organizers who were selfishly motivated to "obtain numerical results" at any cost.