psy·​che·​del·​ic | \ ˌsī-kə-ˈde-lik How to pronounce psychedelic (audio) \

Definition of psychedelic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a psychedelic drug (such as LSD)



Definition of psychedelic (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : of, relating to, or being drugs (such as LSD) capable of producing abnormal psychic effects (such as hallucinations) and sometimes psychotic states
b : produced by or associated with the use of psychedelic drugs a psychedelic experience
2 : imitating, suggestive of, or reproducing effects (such as distorted or bizarre images or sounds) resembling those produced by psychedelic drugs psychedelic color schemes
3 : of, relating to, characteristic of, or being the period of the mid- to late-1960's that is associated with the psychedelic drug culture psychedelic rock the psychedelic era/movement … the "rainbow newspaper" of San Francisco that burst onto the psychedelic scene in 1966 …— Don Lattin … speaking of stereotypes, the illustrations reject any hint of a '60s psychedelic style …— Steven Heller

Other Words from psychedelic


psychedelically \ ˌsī-​kə-​ˈde-​li-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce psychedelic (audio) \ adverb

Did you know?

The most famous--or notorious--of the psychedelic drugs is LSD, a compound that can be obtained from various mushrooms and other fungi but is usually created in the lab. The other well-known psychedelics are psilocybin (likewise obtained from fungi) and mescaline (obtained from peyote cactus). How psychedelics produce their effects is still fairly mysterious, partly because research ceased for almost 20 years because of their reputation, but scientists are determined to find the answers and much research is now under way. Psychedelics are now used to treat anxiety in patients with cancer, and are being tested in the treatment of such serious conditions as severe depression, alcoholism, and drug addiction.

Examples of psychedelic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun With a little more time, these abstractions may edge toward something like the art of Fred Tomaselli, who pushes abstraction into the cosmic and the psychedelic. New York Times, 5 Nov. 2021 This fall, the federal government granted researchers funding to study the therapeutic potential of a classic psychedelic for the first time in 50 years. Madison Margolin, Rolling Stone, 11 Nov. 2021 And while the band is regarded as one of the most important psychedelic and blues acts ever, Cream’s influence on heavy metal is often overlooked. Troy L. Smith, cleveland, 30 Oct. 2021 Test subjects are asked to answer questions after an experience with a psychedelic has concluded. Natan Ponieman, Forbes, 1 Oct. 2021 The psychedelic is about everything, the art, the walls. Andy Wang, Robb Report, 8 Sep. 2021 At Tranquilum, the resort run by Nicole Kidman's character Masha Dmitrichenko on the new show Nine Perfect Strangers, the guests are getting microdoses of psilocybin, a psychedelic. Julie Mazziotta,, 2 Sep. 2021 For her own series, Hanawalt embraced the surreal and the psychedelic. The New Yorker, 15 Aug. 2021 Others are just pleasantly trifling, like the idle contemplation of the folds of one’s pant legs, undertaken under the sway of a psychedelic. John Semley, The New Republic, 26 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective And just this month, Detroit decriminalized psychedelic mushrooms, following in the footsteps of progressive cities like Denver and Oakland, as well as the state of Oregon. Samantha Hissong, Rolling Stone, 27 Nov. 2021 Detroit residents voted to decriminalize entheogenic plants, including psychedelic mushrooms, during Tuesday’s election. Emma Stein, Detroit Free Press, 7 Nov. 2021 In those states, psychedelic mushrooms are not legal, but law enforcement will not arrest those in possession of the drug. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, 4 Nov. 2021 One of the possible treatment uses of psychedelic drugs that researchers have looked at is easing distress in cancer patients. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, 4 Nov. 2021 In September, state Senator Adam Hollier of Detroit and Jeff Irwin of Washtenaw County introduced a bill that would decriminalize psychedelic drugs statewide. Paul Best, Fox News, 2 Nov. 2021 Dune’s story of feudal monarchs, psychedelic drugs, and sandworms is a true original. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, 27 Oct. 2021 Most experts agree that psychedelic drugs have a lot of potential — either taken in microdoses or in combination with psychotherapy with psychological guidance. Cory Stieg,, 19 Oct. 2021 Mdou Moctar, the psychedelic Tuareg guitarist from Niger, wrote his first song in a harrowing competition to see which friend loved their girlfriend more. Reed Dunlea, Rolling Stone, 5 Nov. 2021

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


1956, in the meaning defined above


1957, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for psychedelic


irregular from psych- + Greek dēloun to show, from dēlos evident; akin to Sanskrit dīdeti it shines, Latin dies day — more at deity

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The first known use of psychedelic was in 1956

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Psyche knot

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Last Updated

30 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Psychedelic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for psychedelic



English Language Learners Definition of psychedelic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a psychedelic drug (such as LSD)



English Language Learners Definition of psychedelic (Entry 2 of 2)

used to describe a drug (such as LSD) that affects your thinking and causes you to see things that are not real
: caused by the use of psychedelic drugs
: suggesting the effects of psychedelic drugs by having bright colors, strange sounds, etc.


psy·​che·​del·​ic | \ ˌsī-kə-ˈdel-ik How to pronounce psychedelic (audio) \

Medical Definition of psychedelic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a psychedelic drug (as LSD)



Medical Definition of psychedelic (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or being drugs (as LSD) capable of producing abnormal psychic effects (as hallucinations) and sometimes psychotic states
2 : produced by or associated with the use of psychedelic drugs a psychedelic experience

Other Words from psychedelic

psychedelically \ -​ˈdel-​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce psychedelic (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on psychedelic

Nglish: Translation of psychedelic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of psychedelic for Arabic Speakers


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