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 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, 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 persistent, nagging guilt for something one has done 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 actions associated therewith. The winner of the Nobel prize was a prisoner of conscience for nearly 12 years, whose writing in that time helped bring an end to legal discrimination against his religion. The two prisoners of conscience were arrested for using social media to condemn the actions of the dictatorship.
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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
Sexual treason blurred into homicide--all is permitted--as Count Ugolino della Gherardesca's treason in 1280 led on, via Dante, into cannibalism (eating, it was said, his two sons and two grandchildren while imprisoned so that he could stay alive himself) and Dante's memorably macabre image of Ugolino's wiping his lips on the hair of the skull he was consuming: If there is a more savage or ruthlessly accurate metaphor for conscienceless political survival, it is difficult to think of it.
Other than that, he is shown to be a conscienceless, hateful madman who believes his people deserve to die because they are no longer fit to live.
He was demoted to provincial service, with the added insulting inscription in military registers that he was an "eternal perjurer, slanderer, conscienceless man, and false denouncer.
A reviewer for PM magazine in 1944 quipped that "Double Indemnity is certainly the most fascinating little case history of red-hot passion, conscienceless killing and needle-nosed detection that has come along since the Snyder-Gray case" (McManus 20).
128) The Court found this evidence sufficient to support a finding that the killing was "excessively brutal and physically agonizing, conscienceless, pitiless and unnecessarily torturous" to Mr.
It has undermined most sound judgment in today's Academia, and turned formerly elite humanities departments from Stanford in the west to Harvard and Yale in the east, and further into Western Europe, into an archipelago of epistemological gulags: reeducation camps, where minds are imprisoned, where truth is tortured with mindless deconstructive frenzy, where unsuspecting students are preyed upon by conscienceless ideological raptors and are force-fed counter-factual utopian social theory.
Sorry folks, governments have a role to play in protecting us from harm wrought by conscienceless corporations who put the health of their bottom line ahead of public health.
Beyond that lies a satanic limbo in which, as Costello maintains, the artist becomes a sadist, follows Sade, and then it's up to the artist (or the critics) to separate the mauve glories of pain from the lip-smacking of conscienceless brutes.
They were conscienceless savages who had become addicted to refined Western foods, such as sugar and tea, and raided farmhouses, killing without compunction, to get hold of them.
We've been told that, yes, Hitler was "a mama's boy" who loved his dog, Wolf, but, no, he wasn't a vegetarian; that he was-sexually normal--or instead inhabited "a sexual no-man's land"; that his father whom he detested was half-Jewish--or at least Hitler feared he was, or maybe not; that he loathed Jews, of course, but that his hatred was a post-Vienna, late-blooming phenomenon, or maybe it bloomed earlier; that he was a courageous soldier- or instead preferred off-duty behind-the-lines; that he murdered--or did not murder--his niece Geli Raubal; that he was a deranged true believer convinced he was "doing the Lord's work"--or that we was a conscienceless demagogue and "hypocrisy personified.
In so doing, he became just one more victim of a conscienceless killer.
the Orient has engendered the rise to power of conscienceless, ruthless
Representing Sharp as a worse than conscienceless seducer, Beauchamp wrote of his own love for Cooke that "When ever I had contemplated a marriage with her, I had always esteemed the death of Col.
They should ask, rather: "What serious objection could the conscienceless materialist Russell have had to the conscienceless materialism of Communist life?
They created a new brand of screen lovers, calculating, conscienceless, self-possessed individuals.