ca·​thect kə-ˈthekt How to pronounce cathect (audio)
cathected; cathecting; cathects

transitive verb

: to invest with mental or emotional energy

Examples of cathect in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The process of attaching to, and investing emotions in, a person is known as 'cathecting'. Janey Starling,, 10 Apr. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cathect.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


back-formation from cathectic

First Known Use

1925, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cathect was in 1925

Dictionary Entries Near cathect

Cite this Entry

“Cathect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Medical Definition


transitive verb
ca·​thect kə-ˈthekt, ka- How to pronounce cathect (audio)
: to invest with mental or emotional energy
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