View Full Version : The word Conscience

22nd October 2012, 18:49
I'm aware that words can be limited when attempting to describe certain experiences we humans have in this world. However, I find it interesting to reflect upon the possible origins of words and how their meaning might sometimes deviate from their original attempt at conveying something bigger. Perhaps the word conscience is one of those words that has lost its deeper meaning with its usage.

CONSCIENCE CON= prefixes (latin) 1. with 2. against
Conscientia SCIENCE = (latin) scientia = meaning knowledge, knowledge attained through study or practice. Organized body of knowledge on any subject. The systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

If you look up ''conscience" in the dictionary or internet the word conscience describes a person's moral sense of right and wrong.

We then have words derived from conscience like conscientious and consciousness.

Could the original meaning of the word conscience be pointing at something deeper and bigger?


23rd October 2012, 02:24
Hi, here is the etymology of the word conscience ....

early 13c., from O.Fr. conscience "conscience, innermost thoughts, desires, intentions; feelings" (12c.), from L. conscientia "knowledge within oneself, sense of right, a moral sense," from conscientem (nom. consciens), prp. of conscire "be (mutually) aware," from com- "with," or "thoroughly" (see com-) + scire "to know" (see science). Probably a loan-translation of Gk. syneidesis, lit. "with-knowledge." Sometimes nativized in Old English/Middle English as inwit. Russian also uses a loan-translation, so-vest, "conscience," lit. "with-knowledge."

.. taken from the following online etymological dictionary ..