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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

In 1961, Yale psychology professor Stanley Milgram began conducting his controversial human behavior experiments concerning obedience toward authority figures. BostonGlobe.com, "This day in history," 7 Aug. 2019 Adelia Johnson, 24, said the two met in a college psychology class. Fox News, "Dayton shooter was 'exploring violent ideologies,' investigators say," 6 Aug. 2019 They two met in a psychology class at Sinclair Community College in Dayton. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Dayton shooter’s girlfriend reveals ‘scary’ incidents from short relationship," 6 Aug. 2019 Anderson, a college psychology major and beer judge, works solo. Mary Bergin, chicagotribune.com, "From the soil to suds and spirits: Where to find creative cocktails and beer on Wisconsin farms," 6 Aug. 2019 At a more basic level, Hawley’s bill seems aimed an essential truth of commerce: Marketing has always exploited human psychology. Matthew De Silva, Quartz, "Why Senator Josh Hawley wants to kill your Snapstreak," 30 July 2019 Florence Pugh plays Dani, an American psychology student who has just experienced a devastating loss. Anne Cohen, refinery29.com, "Midsommar Makes Haunting Horror Out Of Sunlight & Flower Crowns," 28 June 2019 Now comes a paper that rebuts Sagan and Newman, as well as Hart, and offers a new solution to the Fermi paradox that avoids speculation about alien psychology or anthropology. Quanta Magazine, "Galaxy Simulations Offer a New Solution to the Fermi Paradox," 7 Mar. 2019 Your mood while taking these tests is also key, says Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Ph.D., a professor of business psychology at University College London and Columbia University. Malaika Jabali, Glamour, "'Hiring Bots' Might Be Responsible For You Getting Your Dream Job—Here’s How to Use Them to Your Advantage," 22 Oct. 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.

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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

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Learn More about psychology

Statistics for psychology

Last Updated

10 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for psychology

The first known use of psychology was in 1749

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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

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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

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