psy·​che | \ ˈsī-kē How to pronounce psyche (audio) \

Definition of psyche

1 capitalized : a princess loved by Cupid

2 [ Greek psychē ]

a : soul, personality the nation's consumer psyche— D. J. Kevles
b : the totality of elements forming the mind (see mind entry 1 sense 2) specifically, in Freudian psychoanalytic theory : the id, ego, and superego including both conscious and unconscious components

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Synonyms for psyche


soul, spirit

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Did You Know?

Sometime back in the 16th century, we borrowed the word psyche directly from Greek into English. In Greek mythology, Psyche was a beautiful princess who fell in love with Eros (Cupid), god of love, and went through terrible trials before being allowed to marry him. The story is often understood to be about the soul redeeming itself through love. (To the Greeks, psyche also meant "butterfly", which suggests how they imagined the soul.) In English, psyche often sounds less spiritual than soul, less intellectual than mind, and more private than personality.

Examples of psyche in a Sentence

some hidden corner within your psyche disturbing, enigmatic paintings that seem to embody the psyche of this brilliant but troubled artist

Recent Examples on the Web

But Money contributed a series of earworms that have, thanks to classic-rock radio, burrowed themselves into the American pop psyche. Ian Crouch, The New Yorker, "Eddie Money’s “Take Me Home Tonight,” a Perfect Earworm with a Rich Pop History," 14 Sep. 2019 Yet none of it quite captures the effect Westbrook has on the approach and psyche of an opponent. Rob Mahoney,, "Top 100 NBA Players of 2020," 12 Sep. 2019 Pinter leaves it to his audience to do much of the work in imagining what is really going on in these three psyches. Kyle Smith, National Review, "When Superheroes Take the Stage," 6 Sep. 2019 Beckham is a magnificent player with baggage and a fragile psyche. Barry Wilner,, "Plenty of story lines for NFL’s 100th season," 5 Sep. 2019 His world was thrown into turmoil in a way his fragile teen psyche had trouble processing. Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times, "A blind heroine rules this audio comic book written for a blind audience," 26 Aug. 2019 Her new book, Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers: Monstrosity, Patriarchy, and the Fear of Female Power, also looks at how the morass of misogyny poisons everything — including our psyches, our popular culture and our everyday lives. Laura Barcella, Longreads, "‘Horror Is a Soothing Genre … It’s Upfront About How Scary It Is To Be a Woman.’," 14 Aug. 2019 Over the Top also promises to uncover new personal details about Van Ness’ life, diving into his psyche as both a private and public person. Annabel Gutterman, Time, "The 42 Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2019," 30 Aug. 2019 After several months of recounting her story, memories bubbled up to the surface of her psyche. Danielle Mcnally, Marie Claire, "Larry Nassar's Likely First Victim Alleges Even Darker Evils in New Book on His Abuse," 6 Aug. 2019

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

1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for psyche

Latin, from Greek psychē soul

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Statistics for psyche

Last Updated

17 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for psyche

The first known use of psyche was in 1590

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More Definitions for psyche



English Language Learners Definition of psyche

formal : the soul, mind, or personality of a person or group


psy·​che | \ ˈsī-(ˌ)kē How to pronounce psyche (audio) \

Medical Definition of psyche

: the specialized cognitive, conative, and affective aspects of a psychosomatic unity : mind specifically : the totality of the id, ego, and superego including both conscious and unconscious components

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Comments on psyche

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


involving a confidence or trust

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