psyche

noun
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

Synonyms

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

Clipped into her bike, Fursteneau tapped into a social network thousands of women strong that sliced through the stay-at-home mom isolation slowly taking over her psyche. Leah Groth, Glamour, "Peloton’s Online Community Is Changing the Fitness Game for Moms," 9 Apr. 2019 The Garfield phone may seem ridiculous now—a relic of a time when novelty landline devices and Monday-hating fat felines held sway over the American psyche. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "A 35-Year-Old Garfield Novelty Telephone Mystery Has Been Solved," 29 Mar. 2019 The data, delayed by a government shutdown, hinted that a volatile stock market, a government impasse, and a trade war with China had taken their toll on the American psyche. Anne D'innocenzio, The Seattle Times, "Walmart flexes in the fourth quarter, beats all expectations," 20 Feb. 2019 Somalia occupies a dark place in the American psyche. Michael M. Phillips, WSJ, "America’s Other Endless War: Battling al-Shabaab in Somalia," 17 Jan. 2019 Image His death had a powerful and immediate effect on the American political psyche, intensified by its proximity to King’s. New York Times, "How Robert Kennedy’s Assassination Changed American Politics," 1 June 2018 Whatever the answer, the show leaves a haunting mark on the psyche. Kerry Reid, chicagotribune.com, "What are we doing here? Gentrification issues and real scares in 'The Displaced'," 7 June 2018 The Favorite Sister, Jessica Knoll Get ready to be dropped into a modern 27-year-old woman’s psyche. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "10 Best Summer Reads of 2018," 21 May 2018 Clearly, bringing a tree into the house, especially during winter, taps into something deeply spiritual in the human psyche. Amanda Foreman, WSJ, "Trees of Life and Wonder," 13 Dec. 2018

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

18 Apr 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

psyche

noun

English Language Learners Definition of psyche

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

psyche

noun
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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