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.

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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 Some do not like the side effects of birth control pills, which can include headaches, a decreased libido and emotional roller coasters. New York Times, 10 June 2021 The men also experienced improvements in mental alertness, mood, and libido. Cynthia Sass, Mph, Health.com, 9 June 2021 There is often not an easy treatment for low libido. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, 21 May 2021 Straight men are terminally horny and often blinded by libido, but women aren’t angels, either. Craig Jenkins, Vulture, 10 May 2021 Better yet, the root has been reported to improve energy, libido, skin and mood. Anna Haines, Forbes, 5 May 2021 One big reason for lower libido is being stressed out — and the pandemic has added significant stressors to most all of our lives. Sadaf Ahsan, refinery29.com, 28 Apr. 2021 The latter promptly answers the call of his newborn libido by approaching Sela (Lily-Rose Depp), the in-house medic, and laying a hand on her breast. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, 16 Apr. 2021 This means Don Jose isn’t quite so simple, his rival Escamillo has less cartoon swagger, and Carmen has much more going on than a fickle nature and healthy libido. Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, 2 Apr. 2021

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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Last Updated

13 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Libido.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/libido. Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for libido

libido

noun

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

More from Merriam-Webster on libido

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for libido

Nglish: Translation of libido for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about libido

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