conscience

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Related to consciences: conscientious objector, thesaurus

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

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 someone 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

Having or displaying 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

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

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 classic literature ?
Is there not a sort of blood shed when the conscience is wounded?
He continued the treatment throughout the day, and by dinner-time had arranged everything with his conscience in the most satisfactory manner possible.
We might say (without in the least imputing crime to a personage of his eminent respectability) that there was enough of splendid rubbish in his life to cover up and paralyze a more active and subtile conscience than the Judge was ever troubled with.
These offerings greatly helped to ease Tom's conscience.
Nor would her employer consent to let her work by the piece, at which the dear child might have earned at least thirty sous, for she discovered that she had to deal with a person of conscience, and that in no mode could as much be possibly extracted from the assistant, as by confiding to her own honor.
Doolittle, in the face of this court, put ting it to your conscience and your knowledge of the law, whether you had any right to enter that man’s dwelling?
Know, monseigneur, that in all that relates to my intimate feelings I render account only to God and to my conscience," she concluded, laying her hand on her beautiful, fully expanded bosom and looking up to heaven.
The quick vision that his life was after all a failure, that he was a dishonored man, and must quail before the glance of those towards whom he had habitually assumed the attitude of a reprover--that God had disowned him before men and left him unscreened to the triumphant scorn of those who were glad to have their hatred justified--the sense of utter futility in that equivocation with his conscience in dealing with the life of his accomplice, an equivocation which now turned venomously upon him with the full-grown fang of a discovered lie:-- all this rushed through him like the agony of terror which fails to kill, and leaves the ears still open to the returning wave of execration.
He is a great talent, a clear conscience, a beautiful art.
And this is the Hungry Tiger, the terror of the jungle, who longs to devour fat babies but is prevented by his conscience from doing so.
Now that the exhilaration of truant delights had died away, his conscience was beginning to give him salutary twinges.
And I have a tender conscience, and a cultivated mind.
I can imagine nothing more unpleasant than to own a Conscience," and he winked slyly at his friend the Lion.
From my gains in that business I can pay for the Presidency, which at $50,000 a year will give me in four years - " but it took him so long to make the calculation that the bill to subsidise cat-ranches passed without his vote, and he was compelled to return to his constituents an honest man, tormented with a clean conscience.
But Soothness pricked on his palfrey and passed them all and came to the King's court, where he told Conscience all about the matter, and Conscience told the King.