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

Similarly, Santa Ana’s Conlogue, a Sage Hill School alumna, has surfed the south side of the pier so many times in her life, any preparation is already baked into her psyche. Joe Haakenson, Daily Pilot, "Kanoa Igarashi, Courtney Conlogue advance at U.S. Open of Surfing," 30 July 2019 This extreme blow to your psyche is still quite fresh. Ask Amy,, "Ask Amy: Dad and teen daughter share a bed. Where does this fall on the ‘ick’ scale?," 23 July 2019 This extreme blow to your psyche is still quite fresh. Amy Dickinson, The Denver Post, "Ask Amy: Newly divorced woman struggles to recover," 23 July 2019 This extreme blow to your psyche is still quite fresh. Amy Dickinson, The Mercury News, "Ask Amy: He’s sleeping with his 18-year-old daughter," 23 July 2019 And the American psyche wasn’t all that was scarred. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "200 Years Before the 'Send Her Back' Chants, This U.S.-Backed Effort Tried to Send Free Black Americans 'Back'," 22 July 2019 The larger-than-usual galleries didn’t shake his psyche. Shawn Mcfarland,, "Travelers notebook: A Monday qualifier, Chip McDaniel seizes his opportunity in pairing with world’s best Koepka," 22 June 2019 For all her expressive eloquence, Sofía is as opaque a figure as those around her, as if the movie were reluctant to presume access to her psyche or pluck her away from her surroundings. Justin Chang, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Moving ‘Too Late to Die Young’ opens a window on a lost Chilean summer," 13 June 2019 For a character who speaks sometimes in almost breathless paragraphs, these final moments for Hamilton take you deep inside his psyche in a visually stunning manner. Kathryn Gregory, The Courier-Journal, "It's not a show, it's a movement. 'Hamilton' wows at Kentucky Center," 6 June 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

8 Aug 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).


to move or obtain by small maneuvers

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