libido

noun
li·​bi·​do | \ lə-ˈbē-(ˌ)dō How to pronounce libido (audio) also ˈli-bə-ˌdō How to pronounce libido (audio) or lə-ˈbī-(ˌ)dō 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.

Keep scrolling for more

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 unstoppable libido was credited as a major reason for the survival of his fellow giant tortoises on Española. Jack Guy, CNN, "Diego, the tortoise who saved his entire species, finally retires to uninhabited island," 16 June 2020 Rather than mocking the contestant or creating ludicrous scenarios to drive up their emotions and libido, the series presents a radically normal vision of dating, one without hot air balloon rides or private concerts. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "5 TV shows to binge-watch this weekend from 'Dating Around' to 'Holey Moley'," 13 June 2020 Your libido issues might be caused by a hormonal imbalance or other medical problem. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, "Ask Amy: Is there help for this sexless marriage?," 7 May 2020 Your libido issues might be caused by a hormonal imbalance or other medical problem. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, "Sexless marriage worries wife," 7 May 2020 Low libido was not associated with a higher risk of early death. Kristen Rogers, CNN, "Men with erectile dysfunction may face a higher risk of early death, study says," 31 Mar. 2020 But like them, Jules and Mickey are in love, the kind of love that’s equal parts co-dependency, shared childishness, and barely legal libido. Dennis Harvey, chicagotribune.com, "‘Villains’ review: Bill Skarsgard, Maika Monroe distinguish themselves as dim but good-hearted criminals," 19 Sep. 2019 Robert Burton suggested that men rub camphor on their genitals to tamp down libido. Dwight Garner, New York Times, "‘A Curious History of Sex’ Covers Aphrodisiacs, Bicycles, Graham Crackers and More," 17 Apr. 2020 The two members of the famously low-libido species successfully mated on Monday, a cause for celebration in the animal conservation world. Isabella Kwai, New York Times, "Coronavirus, Boris Johnson, Wuhan: Your Wednesday Briefing," 8 Apr. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about libido

Time Traveler for libido

Time Traveler

The first known use of libido was in 1909

See more words from the same year

Statistics for libido

Last Updated

24 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Libido.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/libido. Accessed 15 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for libido

libido

noun
How to pronounce libido (audio) How to pronounce libido (audio) How to pronounce libido (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of libido

technical : a person's desire to have sex

libido

noun
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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on libido

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for libido

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with libido

Spanish Central: Translation of libido

Nglish: Translation of libido for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about libido

Comments on libido

What made you want to look up libido? 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

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
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!