\ ˈsīk How to pronounce psych (audio) \
variants: or less commonly psyche
psyched; psyching

Definition of psych

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

2a : to anticipate correctly the intentions or actions of : outguess
b : to analyze or figure out (something, such as a problem or course of action) I psyched it all out by myself and decided— David Hulburd
3a : to make psychologically uneasy : intimidate, scare pressure doesn't psych me— Jerry Quarry often used with out has a way of psyching out the competition
b : to make (someone, such as oneself) psychologically ready especially for performance often used with up psyched herself up for the race



Definition of psych (Entry 2 of 3)

variants: or psycho-

Definition of psych- (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : mind : mental processes and activities psychodynamic psychology
2 : psychological methods psychoanalysis psychotherapy
3 : brain psychosurgery
4 : mental and psychosomatic

Examples of psych in a Sentence


He was trying to psych himself before the race.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

When a writing contest gives Javed a chance to visit America – and drop by Asbury Park – he’s greeted by a burly customs agent who’s psyched the kid’s hitting up Springsteen’s hometown rather than giving him side eye. Brian Truitt, Detroit Free Press, "‘Blinded by the Light’ unleashes the power of the Boss," 24 July 2019 Later, as the Manson squad sets out to commit its would-be-notorious crimes, its members psych themselves up by criticizing the entertainment industry. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Quentin Tarantino’s Ultimate Statement on Movie Violence," 2 Aug. 2019 Passionate Yanks from sea to shining sea are understandably psyched. Leah Asmelash And Nadeem Muaddi, CNN, "An American guide to watching the 2019 Women's World Cup final," 6 July 2019 Ethan Phillips is psyched to join the Detroit Red Wings organization, and used to live with a top Wings prospect. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Why Detroit Red Wings pick Ethan Phillips already has a friend in the organization," 22 June 2019 Take a deep breath, psych yourself up, and boldly go into WIRED’s full set of space photos here. Shannon Stirone, WIRED, "Space Photos of the Week: Saturn’s Rings Are Feelin’ Groovy," 22 June 2019 That has happened with Shevchenko’s prior opponents, who almost psych themselves out getting ready for the fight–only to have Shevchenko execute in the cage at will. Justin Barrasso,, "Top Five Storylines Heading Into UFC 238," 7 June 2019 Because just like Queen Elizabeth, Drake has been using his wardrobe to psych out the competition. Courtney Shea,, "How To Become A Raptors Superfan (In 5 Minutes Or Less)," 5 June 2019 Those are always the guy’s part. I was just psyched. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon revisit their lesbian neo-noir Bound," 6 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'psych.' 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 psych


1917, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for psych


by shortening

Combining form

Greek, from psychē breath, principle of life, life, soul, from psychein to breathe; akin to Sanskrit babhasti he blows

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Statistics for psych

Last Updated

3 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for psych

The first known use of psych was in 1917

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English Language Learners Definition of psych

informal : to make (yourself or another person) mentally ready to perform or compete



Medical Definition of psych

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with psych

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