psy·chol·o·gy | \ sī-ˈkä-lə-jē \
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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Other words from psychology

psychologist \sī-ˈkä-lə-jist \ noun

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

After trying several contacts, Kelli Castillo made a desperate phone call to associate psychology professor Amy Van Hecke. Jennifer Walter, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Specialized program for Marquette undergraduates with autism disorders gifted $450,000, set to launch fall 2019," 9 July 2018 Related There is no recent research on the psychological impact of mass shootings on children who watch them on the news or social media, said Heidi Zinzow, an associate professor of psychology at Clemson. NBC News, "Amid fear of shootings, parents and students count down till school's out for summer," 31 May 2018 Safran was a professor of psychology at the New School in Manhattan. Chris Harris,, "Psychology Professor and Dad-of-2 Is Killed With Hammer in Brooklyn Home in Suspected Botched Burglary," 8 May 2018 The five-year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health will allow a group of researchers, led by associate professor of psychology Karin Coifman, to look for more efficient treatment approaches. Karen Farkas,, "Kent State University researchers receive $2.7 million grant to study depression caused by trauma," 2 May 2018 Watch the road Ron Van Houten, a psychology professor at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, however, said texting or talking by themselves are not the problem. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, "Death on foot: Distracted driving, cell phones seen as factors," 28 June 2018 Tyler is planning to study psychology at Bridgewater State University in the fall. Cristela Guerra,, "For Marshfield High graduate, a surprise visitor all the way from Kosovo," 4 June 2018 Peterson is a clinical psychologist studying social, abnormal, and personality psychology. Kavin Senapathy, Slate Magazine, "Why Is Monsanto Inviting This Alt-Right Hero to a Fireside Chat on Farming?," 4 Jan. 2018 The Cut Doritos Locos From the gold dust on your fingers to the Romano cheese burst in your mouth, the science and psychology packed into making Doritos so addictive is fascinating. Lauren Le Vine, Redbook, "Morning Headlines: Kim Kardashian Bares Almost All in Paris, Beyoncé's Prom Photo Surfaces — and More," 3 Oct. 2013

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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Phrases Related to psychology

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Statistics for psychology

Last Updated

21 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for psychology

The first known use of psychology was in 1749

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More Definitions for psychology



English Language Learners Definition of psychology

: the science or study of the mind and behavior

: the way a person or group thinks


psy·chol·o·gy | \ sī-ˈkä-lə-jē \

Kids Definition of psychology

: the science that studies the mind and behavior


psy·chol·o·gy | \ -jē \
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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