These two words look and sound similar. In fact, if you think too hard about them together, you might find your tongue tripping over them.

The older unconscionable, dating back to the 1560s, is the absence of reason or right; having no idea between right and wrong:

She said she finds WWE’s simulated rape scenes “unconscionable.”

It is unconscionable that the Obama Administration is gambling with American lives.

Attempting to fence them out of their home is unconscionable.

Relative newcomer unconscious originated in 1712, meaning unaware. In the 1860s, it picked up the meaning to lose consciousness, to not be awake:

Fidgeting and Doodling Could Be Unconscious Focus Tools

Woman attacked and left unconscious under bridge in Edinburgh

Zsa Zsa Gabor is unconscious as she’s been fitted with a feeding tube in the hospital.

Both words descend from the Old French conscience (inner knowledge), which in turn comes from the Latin conscientia, which means both inner knowledge and a knowledge of right and wrong.

How can you tell these cousins apart? Unconscionable’s opposite would be the obsolete conscionable,and it sometimes seems right behavior is also obsolete in our society—just look at our example sentences! If that’s not the word you’re after, it must be unconscious.