to square it with your conscience means that something is congruent with your conscience. I would like to ask as to how to use it correctly and if the following example is correct.

For example somebody can say:

You've spent the money that was saved for your children's future education on gambling. How could you square it with your conscience?


How can you square spending the money saved for your children's education on gambling with your conscience?

Although the word scruple is not synonym with the phrase verb "to square it with your conscience", I wonder if I can rewrite the sentence using the word scruple by keeping the same meaning or if there are any other word(s) I can use for the phrasal verb. I also thought about " to let your conscience" but it can be used mostly in positive situations. How can you say this scenario in a natural way if my sentence sounds awkward?


2 Answers 2


Using “scruples” you could say:

  • You are a man with no scruples!! You spent all the money saved for your children’s education on gambling.

Note on usage:

The idea of scruples has to do with ethics and morality: what is right and wrong. If you had no scruples at all, you'd just kill, steal, cheat, and do God knows what else. Scruples are a kind of moral compass that lets you know what's right. Often people use this word in an outraged way when someone does something bad: "Don't you have any scruples?" Liars, thieves, criminals, and politicians have fewer scruples than the rest of us.


I'm pretty sure that 'to scruple' to do something is roughly the opposite of to square something with your conscience.

So "How come you didn't scruple to x?" is fairly close to "How come you could square doing x with your conscience?

The verb 'to scruple' is pretty old-fashioned, though.

Perhaps "How come you didn't have [or 'couldn't find'] the scruples not to do x?" might work as a very rough equivalent of "How did you manage to square doing x with your conscience?"

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