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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for psyche

Synonyms

soul, spirit

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

What stories and tools are supporting and sustaining you, and which items have quite literally become dangerous to your psyche? Bess Matassa, Teen Vogue, "Weekly Horoscopes July 2-8," 29 June 2018 This wacky and whimsical approach to design is a complete fantasy; it’s purpose is to engage and inspire but also to tap into our psyche. Ingrid Abramovitch, ELLE Decor, "Behold the Campiest Rooms of All Time," 7 May 2019 But instead of going deep into her psyche, director/co-screenwriter Fede Alvarez (Jay Basu and Steven Knight share screenplay credit) opts to turn the picture into a conventional spy thriller. Soren Andersen, The Seattle Times, "‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’: Lisbeth Salander gets trapped in a conventional spy thriller," 6 Nov. 2018 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

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

Statistics for psyche

Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for psyche

The first known use of psyche was in 1590

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

incapable of being surmounted or overcome

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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