Definition of self-conscious in English:



  • 1Feeling undue awareness of oneself, one's appearance, or one's actions.

    ‘I feel a bit self-conscious parking my scruffy old car’
    ‘a self-conscious laugh’
    • ‘Obesity experts who compiled the document say self-conscious adolescents feel embarrassed in the presence of the opposite gender during gym and swimming lessons.’
    • ‘They are so busy concentrating on the dance that they forget to be self-conscious about their appearance.’
    • ‘I also looked older than children my own age, so being around them made me feel awkward and self-conscious.’
    • ‘Suddenly I felt very self-conscious about my appearance.’
    • ‘Tall and gangly, with a long nose and beady eyes, he was self-conscious about his appearance and despaired of ever being loved.’
    • ‘They didn't recognize that it's a disease, like any other disease, and there's nothing to be embarrassed about or self-conscious about.’
    • ‘At the start of the six-week course, the women are timid and self-conscious.’
    • ‘Children may also feel self-conscious about their appearance and lack confidence in social situations, if they have severe facial abnormalities.’
    • ‘Handily for such awkward, self-conscious creatures, you can't really dance to it either.’
    • ‘He suffered from bad acne and was self-conscious about his appearance.’
    • ‘‘A lot of kids are also self-conscious and awkward when they go on holiday alone because of their condition but here they forget all that,’ he explained.’
    • ‘It gave me hope that maybe this friendship thing could work out, that we could eventually get to a point where our interactions weren't always self-conscious and awkward.’
    • ‘She was very self-critical and self-conscious about her appearance and actions.’
    • ‘She took virtually no exercise and was self-conscious about her appearance.’
    • ‘Unlike more socially self-conscious authors, Fraser appears to have no axe to grind.’
    • ‘Made with untrained actors, the film has home-video moments of self-conscious awkwardness.’
    • ‘It showed me a way of arguing, quite different from the hot-faced, angry exchanges with family members or the awkward, self-conscious exchanges with school friends.’
    • ‘In fact, many children with P.E. are self-conscious about their appearance and choose not to participate in athletics.’
    • ‘Between the movie we'd just seen and the movie about to be made, we both felt awkward and self-conscious, as if we were auditioning for the roles of ourselves.’
    • ‘The change in Eloise from being timidly self-conscious regarding her appearance to publicly yelling at a figure of authority was quite remarkable.’
    embarrassed, uncomfortable, ill at ease, uneasy, nervous, tense, edgy
    View synonyms
  • 2(especially of an action or intention) deliberate and with full awareness, especially affectedly so.

    ‘her self-conscious identification with the upper classes’
    • ‘To have knowledge, one must always be able, when necessary, to justify what one says, even though one need not always obtain one's knowledge via a self-conscious justificatory process.’
    • ‘This ‘tailoring’ was not, we may be certain, particularly deliberate or self-conscious.’
    • ‘The importance of tactility and of body-object proximity is inflected, moreover, in the self-conscious design of such boxes - a matter of fashion and of comfort.’
    • ‘He alone supplied the deft and necessary touch of self-conscious theatrical artifice.’
    • ‘This year's prize has a secondary purpose: as a self-conscious attempt to define, by its own indefinability, the state of British art in 2002.’
    • ‘Her photographs have the look and feel of mere snapshots, as unmediated realism, unencumbered by artifice and self-conscious construction.’
    deliberate, careful, thoughtful, considered, conscious, calculated, intentional, volitional, designed, mannered, measured, studious, knowing, purposeful
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Psychology Philosophy Having knowledge of one's own existence, especially the knowledge of oneself as a conscious being.
      ‘a self-conscious moral agent’
      ‘a self-conscious proletariat’
      • ‘Rational beings exist not only as self-conscious centres of knowledge, but also as agents.’
      • ‘I think that humans are the only self-conscious moral agents.’
      • ‘Only self-conscious moral agents can weigh and judge the life of humans or animals.’
      • ‘Of course, philosophically speaking, where humans differ from other species is that they are self-conscious, in a way that albatrosses and flatworms just don't seem to be.’
      • ‘It is an interesting question whether any cognitively sophisticated, rational, self-conscious agent must experience situations of choice in this way.’