li·​bi·​do | \ lə-ˈbē-(ˌ)dō also ˈli-bə-ˌdō How to pronounce libido (audio) \
plural libidos

Definition of libido

1 : instinctual psychic energy that in psychoanalytic theory is derived from primitive biological urges (as for sexual pleasure or self-preservation) and that is expressed in conscious activity
2 : sexual drive The drug was used to increase libido.

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Did You Know?

The Latin word libido, meaning "desire, lust", was borrowed by Sigmund Freud as the name for a concept in his own theories. At first he defined libido to mean the instinctual energy associated with the sex drive. Later he broadened the word's meaning and began using it to mean the mental energy behind purposeful human activity of any kind; in other words, the libido (for which Freud also used the term eros, a Greek word meaning "sexual love") came to be regarded as the life instinct, which included sex along with all the other impulses we rely on to keep us alive. But those of us who aren't psychologists use the word simply as a synonym for "sex drive".

Examples of libido in a Sentence

Lack of libido may be a sign of depression.

Recent Examples on the Web

His low libido could be a clue to other concerning health problems, says Phil Nguyen, M.D., an erectile dysfunction expert with the Boston Medical Group. Sarah Jio, Woman's Day, "10 Reasons Your Husband Doesn't Want to Have Sex," 21 Feb. 2019 While your libido has been waning in the hot summer sun, now, bubble baths aren’t the only thing on your mind. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What August's Taurus Horoscope Means for You," 30 July 2018 Not to mention that her libido is in overdrive during this time. Anonymous As Told To Sophie Saint Thomas, Marie Claire, "I'm a Man Who's Turned On by Your Period," 19 Sep. 2016 With that said, sometimes masturbation isn’t enough to boost a low libido. Rachel Jacoby Zoldan, SELF, "14 Benefits of Female Masturbation and Why Every Woman Should Do It," 31 Dec. 2018 Meanwhile, the testosterone in the gel will serve as a replacement testosterone—eliminating the side effects in previous male birth control studies, such as erectile dysfunction and low libido. Alexis Jones, Marie Claire, "This New Topical Gel Birth Control For Men Could Change Everything," 30 Nov. 2018 Another side effect associated with antipsychotic drugs (like antidepressants) is lowering libido, Dr. Marolis says. Kimberly Truong, SELF, "11 Side Effects of Antipsychotics You Should Know About," 7 Dec. 2018 With your planetary ruler now direct, your libido and romantic forcefield can breathe a sigh of sensuous relief. Bess Matassa, Teen Vogue, "Monthly Lovescopes September 2018," 1 Sep. 2018 Your libido will be working overtime under the Libra sky. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What September's Pisces Horoscope Means for You," 30 Aug. 2018

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

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First Known Use of libido

1909, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for libido

New Latin libidin-, libido, from Latin, desire, lust, from libēre to please — more at love

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The first known use of libido was in 1909

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English Language Learners Definition of libido

technical : a person's desire to have sex


li·​bi·​do | \ lə-ˈbēd-(ˌ)ō also ˈlib-ə-ˌdō or lə-ˈbī-(ˌ)dō\
plural libidos

Medical Definition of libido

1 : instinctual psychic energy that in psychoanalytic theory is derived from primitive biological urges (as for sexual pleasure or self-preservation) and that is expressed in conscious activity
2 : sexual drive

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More from Merriam-Webster on libido

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with libido

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for libido

Spanish Central: Translation of libido

Nglish: Translation of libido for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about libido

Comments on libido

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a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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