psychology

noun
psy·​chol·​o·​gy | \ sī-ˈkä-lə-jē How to pronounce psychology (audio) \
plural psychologies

Definition of psychology

1 : the science of mind and behavior
2a : the mental or behavioral characteristics of an individual or group
b : the study of mind and behavior in relation to a particular field of knowledge or activity
3 : a theory or system of psychology Freudian psychology the psychology of Jung

Keep scrolling for more

The Roots of Psychology

The word psychology was formed by combining the Greek psychē (meaning “breath, principle of life, life, soul,”) with –logia (which comes from the Greek logos, meaning “speech, word, reason”). An early use appears in Nicholas Culpeper’s mid-17th century translation of Simeon Partliz’s A New Method of Physick, in which it is stated that “Psychologie is the knowledg of the Soul.” Today, psychology is concerned with the science or study of the mind and behavior. Many branches of psychology are differentiated by the specific field to which they belong, such as animal psychology, child psychology, and sports psychology.

Examples of psychology in a Sentence

She studied psychology in college. the psychology of an athlete the psychology of crowd behavior We need to understand the psychologies of the two people involved in the incident.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Graeme Fairchild of the department of psychology at the University of Bath tells Dixon at CNN that diagnosing Leonardo with A.D.H.D. could be a positive. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "New Study Suggests Leonardo da Vinci Had A.D.H.D.," 5 June 2019 Cartman, who has a PhD in psychology, and his brother Ayinde Cartman, lead Sunday Men’s Healing Circles at Real Men Cook’s new home site the at the Quarry Event Center, 2423 E. 75 St. in Chicago, which was purchased last year. Francine Knowles, Daily Southtown, "Knowles: Real Men Cook marks 30-year anniversary," 4 June 2019 An associate professor of psychology at Boise State University, Weaver is a mother of four. Hayley Harding, The Seattle Times, "Looking for the perfect child care? Join the waiting list.," 13 Apr. 2019 Anthony Wagner, chair of the department of psychology at Stanford The science tells us that there is a negative relationship between using more media simultaneously and working memory capacity. Brian Resnick, Vox, "Is our constant use of digital technologies affecting our brain health? We asked 11 experts.," 29 Nov. 2018 Engineering researchers in the psychology department at the University of Utah are studying whether semiautonomous driving technology will make things better or worse. Russ Mitchell, latimes.com, "Tesla crash highlights a problem: When cars are partly self-driving, humans don't feel responsible," 25 Jan. 2018 Anybody asks anything, say yes.’ Meanwhile, my wife was a young graduate student in psychology at City College. Alexandra Lange, Curbed, "How not to cheat children: Let them build their own playgrounds," 18 July 2018 Equal in irrelevance was HR Paul, the head of the human resources department, who was generally regarded as a nincompoop psychology PhD with a flatulence problem. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Google’s former PR boss Jessica Powell wrote a satirical novel about tech and published it all on Medium," 2 Oct. 2018 Remember that it was once called ‘the sick man of Asia.’ There is a deep and complex psychology behind China’s rise, and philanthropy is just its newest form. Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, "Meet the Chinese Philanthropists Who Are Pledging Big Money to End Climate Change," 25 May 2018

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

1749, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for psychology

New Latin psychologia, from psych- + -logia -logy

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about psychology

Statistics for psychology

Last Updated

15 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for psychology

The first known use of psychology was in 1749

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for psychology

psychology

noun

English Language Learners Definition of psychology

: the science or study of the mind and behavior
: the way a person or group thinks

psychology

noun
psy·​chol·​o·​gy | \ sī-ˈkä-lə-jē How to pronounce psychology (audio) \

Kids Definition of psychology

: the science that studies the mind and behavior

psychology

noun
psy·​chol·​o·​gy | \ -jē How to pronounce psychology (audio) \
plural psychologies

Medical Definition of psychology

1 : the science of mind and behavior
2a : the mental or behavioral characteristics typical of an individual or group or a particular form of behavior mob psychology the psychology of arson
b : the study of mind and behavior in relation to a particular field of knowledge or activity color psychology the psychology of learning
3 : a treatise on or a school, system, or branch of psychology

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on psychology

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with psychology

Spanish Central: Translation of psychology

Nglish: Translation of psychology for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of psychology for Arabic Speakers

Comments on psychology

What made you want to look up psychology? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!