collective unconscious


: the inherited part of the unconscious that especially in the psychoanalytic theory of Carl Gustav Jung occurs in and is shared by all the members of a people or race

Examples of collective unconscious in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Saved Stories Few faces have burned deeper into the collective unconscious than Nicolas Cage’s. David Sims, The Atlantic, 7 Nov. 2023 Jung believed that these archetypes are part of the collective unconscious, shared by individuals across cultures and generations. Dan Serard, Rolling Stone, 19 Oct. 2023 If Cage has somehow not yet managed to worm his way into our collective unconscious, Dream Scenario is a cinch to seal the deal. Michael Rechtshaffen, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 Sep. 2023 In other words, Bond is a reflection of the collective unconscious idea of badassery, personified. Paul Schrodt, Vulture, 23 June 2023 Rather, each generation invents new yokai, many of them channeling a collective unconscious of present-day anxieties. Hikari Hida, New York Times, 16 Apr. 2023 To see two generations of teen idol turned arthouse star, their striking bone structures repurposed for camp villainy, feels a bit like a joke about the barbarism at the heart of our civilization, how both crude and sophisticated are the tastes expressed by our collective unconscious. Lidija Haas, The New Republic, 7 Aug. 2020 Rivers emptying into vast oceans, the wide unknowable of the collective unconscious. Emily Newhouse, Allure, 6 Mar. 2023 The sitcom, which ran 1951-57, is more than beloved: It’s become part of our collective unconscious. Tim Gray, Variety, 27 Jan. 2022

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

Word History


translation of German kollektives Unbewusstes

First Known Use

1917, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of collective unconscious was in 1917

Dictionary Entries Near collective unconscious

Cite this Entry

“Collective unconscious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

Medical Definition

collective unconscious

col·​lec·​tive unconscious kə-ˈlek-tiv- How to pronounce collective unconscious (audio)
: the genetically determined part of the unconscious that especially in the psychoanalytic theory of C. G. Jung occurs in all the members of a people or race

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