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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for psyche


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 At this point, everything is taking a toll on my psyche. Mika Kuyoro, Marie Claire, "Waves of Loss and Revolution," 30 Dec. 2020 BoJack Horseman, the phenomenal final season of which aired on Netflix at the beginning of this year, challenged its audience to plumb the depths of a wrongdoer’s psyche. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "Pop Culture Reckoned With #MeToo in Radical New Ways in 2020—Even as It Receded From Headlines," 22 Dec. 2020 While space movies have long explored people in confinement or quarantine, Clooney thinks the real-world isolation of COVID-19 is going to have a long-lasting effect on our collective psyche. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "Why George Clooney's 'The Midnight Sky' resonates differently during a pandemic," 22 Dec. 2020 Men like Epstein enjoy wide access and opportunities to dominate political and government coverage in ways women and people of color still struggle to have, a reality that has had far reaching consequences in our national psyche and political life. Lauren Leader, NBC News, "Lauren Leader: 'Sexist' WSJ op-ed about Jill Biden proves we need more diverse voices in our op-ed pages," 16 Dec. 2020 The pandemic’s grating effects and the electorate’s rebuke of a norm-busting presidency have dominated the national psyche. Patrik Jonsson, The Christian Science Monitor, "2020’s murder increase is ‘unprecedented.’ But is it a blip?," 14 Dec. 2020 The Nazi occupation left deep scars in the French psyche, fusing the humiliation of military defeat and the shame of collaboration with the heroic myths and chronicles of the Resistance. Alan Cowell, New York Times, "Daniel Cordier, French Resistance Hero, Is Dead at 100," 22 Nov. 2020 As much as anything, voting for Biden would be a life-style choice, a decision by Americans to shrink the Presidency back into its pre-Trump space in the national psyche. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, "Donald Trump’s 2020 Superspreader Campaign: A Diary," 3 Nov. 2020 The national psyche is dominated by issues literally involving life, death, and the future of the nation. Steven Levy, Wired, "The Anticlimax of the Google Antitrust Suit," 20 Oct. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of psyche

1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for psyche

Latin, from Greek psychē soul

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about psyche

Time Traveler for psyche

Time Traveler

The first known use of psyche was in 1590

See more words from the same year

Statistics for psyche

Last Updated

8 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Psyche.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for psyche


How to pronounce psyche (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!