ego

noun
\ ˈē-(ˌ)gō How to pronounce ego (audio) also ˈe- \
plural egos

Definition of ego

1 : the self especially as contrasted with another self or the world
3 : the one of the three divisions of the psyche in psychoanalytic theory that serves as the organized conscious mediator between the person and reality especially by functioning both in the perception of and adaptation to reality — compare id, superego

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from ego

egoless adjective

Did You Know?

Ego is the Latin word for "I." So if a person seems to begin every sentence with "I", it's sometimes a sign of a big ego. It was the psychologist Sigmund Freud (well, actually his original translator) who put ego into the popular vocabulary, but what he meant by the word is complex, so only other psychologists really use it in the Freudian sense. The rest of us generally use ego simply to mean one's sense of self-worth, whether exaggerated or not. When used in the "exaggerated" sense, ego is almost the same thing as conceit. Meeting a superstar athlete without a trace of this kind of ego would be a most refreshing experience. But having a reasonable sense of your own worth is no sin. Life's little everyday victories are good—in fact, necessary—for a healthy ego.

Examples of ego in a Sentence

I have enough ego not to want to give up easily in any contest or competition. a star athlete with a refreshing lack of ego
Recent Examples on the Web Ahmed’s willingness to part with his ego, somewhat of a rarity in Hollywood. Washington Post, "Riz Ahmed knows his worth. With the gut-wrenching ‘Sound of Metal,’ he ensures you do, too.," 3 Dec. 2020 By choosing Blinken for one of the most coveted jobs in the Cabinet, Biden is aiming to install an alter-ego at the helm of the State Department. Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY, "Reports: Biden to name long-time confidant Antony Blinken as Secretary of State," 23 Nov. 2020 People in the program have been struck by Robinson’s lack of ego for a player ranked as the nation’s No. 2 high school running back in the 247Sports composite. Chuck Carlton, Dallas News, "Li’l Ricky? Freshman RB Bijan Robinson still just finding his way as he draws comparison to Texas legend," 12 Nov. 2020 Losing my job at the law firm did something to my ego. New York Times, "Out of Work in America," 22 Oct. 2020 The turmoil around Oxford’s vaccine deal featured on-campus clashes of ego, hastily made threats and promises, and layers of public and private investors with competing incentives. Jenny Strasburg, WSJ, "Oxford Developed Covid Vaccine, Then Scholars Clashed Over Money," 21 Oct. 2020 The other is charismatic, punishes disloyalty, and holds ego-boosting rallies. James Hibberd, EW.com, "Alexander Skarsgård plays Randall Flagg like a 'sexy Trump' in The Stand reboot," 7 Dec. 2020 On Wednesday, as the ego-ruling Sun forms a square against imaginative Neptune. Venus Australis, refinery29.com, "Your Horoscope This Week," 6 Dec. 2020 And here’s where Tennessee’s misplaced ego entered the picture. Mike Bianchi, orlandosentinel.com, "Gators clinch SEC East with victory over Vandy, er, Vols | Commentary," 5 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ego.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of ego

1789, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ego

New Latin, from Latin, I — more at i

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ego

Statistics for ego

Last Updated

12 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ego.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ego. Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ego

ego

noun
How to pronounce ego (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ego

: the opinion that you have about yourself
psychology : a part of the mind that senses and adapts to the real world

ego

noun
\ ˈē-(ˌ)gō also ˈeg-(ˌ)ō \
plural egos

Medical Definition of ego

1 : the self especially as contrasted with another self or the world
2 : the one of the three divisions of the psyche in psychoanalytic theory that serves as the organized conscious mediator between the person and reality especially by functioning both in the perception of and adaptation to reality — compare id entry 1, superego

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on ego

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

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!