psychedelic

noun
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)

psychedelic

adjective

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

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Other Words from psychedelic

Adjective

psychedelically \ ˌsī-​kə-​ˈde-​li-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce psychedelically (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 The northern lights a spectacle beyond any psychedelic. Peter Mcbride, National Geographic, "What unites us? A new book explores Americans’ love of home and country," 20 Oct. 2020 The brain imaging study at Johns Hopkins was a first step toward understanding the effects of this bizarre psychedelic. Daniel Oberhaus, Wired, "This Is My Brain on Salvia," 14 Oct. 2020 Nearly 20 years later, Thompson cast adrenochrome as a psychedelic that must be violently extracted from human glands in his novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Brian Friedberg, Wired, "The Dark Virality of a Hollywood Blood-Harvesting Conspiracy," 31 July 2020 Atai is studying how to use psychedelics to treat disorders including addiction, depression and anxiety. Washington Post, "FCC votes to let fast WiFi devices use airwaves, in a win for tech companies," 23 Apr. 2020 For many more casual users of psychedelics, this wasn’t exactly a revolutionary finding. John Semley, The New Republic, "Turn On, Tune In, Cash In," 27 Apr. 2020 Natural psychedelics have long been popular for recreational use, though many have been banned at the federal level for decades. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "Santa Cruz decriminalizes magic mushrooms and other natural psychedelics, making it the third US city to take such a step," 30 Jan. 2020 Peter Thiel made his first investment in Atai Life Sciences, a German start-up that's looking into ways of using certain mushrooms and other psychedelics to treat mental-health disorders. Washington Post, "FCC votes to let fast WiFi devices use airwaves, in a win for tech companies," 23 Apr. 2020 Hamilton's Pharmacopeia The son of legendary documentarian Errol Morris is at the quirky core of this Viceland docuseries, giving audiences an engaging, unusual, third-eye-opening crash course in psychedelics. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "What to watch on Hulu while social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic," 3 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Anons say that adrenochrome is consumed by some Democratic politicians and Hollywood elites for its psychedelic and anti-aging effects and is more potent when harvested from a frightened victim. Paul Thomas, The Conversation, "How QAnon uses satanic rhetoric to set up a narrative of ‘good vs. evil’," 20 Oct. 2020 Smith’s vision of America could transcend such binaries, making beatniks go for the music of coal miners, hippies dig the psychedelic sound of the banjo, and good ol’ boys smitten for Mississippi John Hurt’s fingerpicking prowess. Washington Post, "The other side of America’s iconic folk anthology is entrancing — but also plenty disturbing," 20 Oct. 2020 Kudos to costume coordinator Shima Orans and the cast for the threads, particularly Oviedo's psychedelic floral dress, which fits her exuberant character and could also power a few thousand HVAC systems in its spare time. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "New shows online: Skylight escapes to London, First Stage seeks 'Treasure' in Milwaukee," 19 Oct. 2020 Roullier is aware that psychedelic therapy is part of a longer process. Olivia Goldhill, Quartz, "Psychedelic treatment for depression is on sale for the first time," 16 Oct. 2020 In the 1950s and ’60s, researchers published thousands of articles on the therapeutic use of another psychedelic drug, LSD, which was used successfully to treat alcoholism and other mental health issues. oregonlive, "Future of psilocybin therapy will be decided by Oregon voters," 16 Oct. 2020 Scientific reports associating psychedelic use and liberal values stretch back as far as 1971, and although these findings have been replicated more recently, a noncausal explanation is readily available. Eddie Jacobs, Scientific American, "What If a Pill Can Change Your Politics or Religious Beliefs?," 11 Oct. 2020 This year's theme is gradients, pastel hues, and almost psychedelic colorways. Michelle Santiago Cortés, refinery29.com, "Starbucks’ Holiday Tumblers & Hot Cups Look Cooler Than Ever," 23 Sep. 2020 Initiative 81, also known as the Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020, made the ballot after months of wrangling over its legality and a nationwide debate about policing and the medical value of psychedelic drugs. Washington Post, "D.C. voters to weigh in on ‘magic mushroom’ decriminalization after months-long campaign," 8 Oct. 2020

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

Noun

1956, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

1957, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for psychedelic

Noun

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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Time Traveler for psychedelic

Time Traveler

The first known use of psychedelic was in 1956

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Statistics for psychedelic

Last Updated

24 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Psychedelic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/psychedelic. Accessed 28 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for psychedelic

psychedelic

noun
How to pronounce psychedelic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of psychedelic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a psychedelic drug (such as LSD)

psychedelic

adjective

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.

psychedelic

noun
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)

psychedelic

adjective

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 psychedelically (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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