death instinct

noun

Definition of death instinct

: an innate and unconscious tendency toward self-destruction postulated in psychoanalytic theory to explain aggressive and destructive behavior not satisfactorily explained by the pleasure principle

called also Thanatos

— compare eros sense 2

First Known Use of death instinct

1921, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about death instinct

Time Traveler for death instinct

Time Traveler

The first known use of death instinct was in 1921

See more words from the same year

Statistics for death instinct

Cite this Entry

“Death instinct.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/death%20instinct. Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for death instinct

death instinct

noun

Medical Definition of death instinct

: an innate and unconscious tendency toward self-destruction postulated in psychoanalytic theory to explain aggressive and destructive behavior not satisfactorily explained by the pleasure principle

called also Thanatos

— compare eros

Comments on death instinct

What made you want to look up death instinct? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!