Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Conscientious

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is conscientious. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Conscientious often describes those who are concerned with doing things correctly. It can be used as a synonym for both meticulous and careful.

// Although Marvin was brilliant, he was not a very conscientious student, and he frequently lost points for forgetting to turn in his homework.


“Findings from Gosling’s studies revealed that highly conscientious people tend to have homes or offices that are clean and in good condition. Books, TV remotes, and magazines may be neatly arranged and conveniently located, for example. Their music records and books might be organized and grouped together on the bookshelf by type or genre.” — Brian Collisson, Psychology Today, 25 May 2022

Did You Know?

According to American writer and editor H. L. Mencken, “Conscience is the inner voice which warns us someone may be looking.” A person who is conscientiousmakes sure that if others are watching, they approve of what they see. This is true for someone who is “governed by their conscience” as the oldest sense of the word is defined—as in “a conscientious objector to the war”—but it is also true for the conscientious person paying close, careful attention to the task at hand. Conscientious came to English from French, centuries after Middle English had adopted conscience from Old French; both ultimately come from Latin scire, “to know.”

Leave a Reply