psychology

noun

psy·​chol·​o·​gy sī-ˈkä-lə-jē How to pronounce psychology (audio)
plural psychologies
1
: the science of mind and behavior
2
a
: 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.

Example Sentences

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.
Recent Examples on the Web His mother had a Ph.D. in psychology and worked as a psychologist for the Milwaukee police. Michael S. Rosenwald, Washington Post, 4 Nov. 2022 In order to qualify, psychologists must be fully licensed in their home state and also take three hours of continuing education courses related to the use of technology in psychology. Sofia Jeremias, The Salt Lake Tribune, 3 Nov. 2022 Marlon Goering, a doctoral student in psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, studies the relationship between pubertal timing and behavioral challenges in young people. Jessica Winter, The New Yorker, 27 Oct. 2022 On his way to graduating with a degree in psychology, Dornbach decided to enter the transfer portal. Andrew Mahoney, BostonGlobe.com, 20 Oct. 2022 At Swarthmore College, Maggy studied psychology and met Jim Hurchalla, an engineer. Patricia Mazzei, New York Times, 5 Mar. 2022 Hailie studied psychology at Michigan State University. Charmaine Patterson, PEOPLE.com, 15 Feb. 2022 Lichtenstein, 34, is a Russian-U.S. national who studied psychology at the University of Wisconsin, co-founded a MixRank, and, apparently, enjoys cat food. Brenna Ehrlich, Rolling Stone, 10 Feb. 2022 After relocating to the Chicago area with her first husband in the early 1960s, Taber returned to school, earning a master’s degree in psychology from Roosevelt University. Bob Goldsborough, chicagotribune.com, 3 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1749, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of psychology was in 1749

Dictionary Entries Near psychology

Cite this Entry

“Psychology.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/psychology. Accessed 27 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

psychology

noun

psy·​chol·​o·​gy sī-ˈkäl-ə-jē How to pronounce psychology (audio)
plural psychologies
1
: the science or study of mind and behavior
2
: the particular ways in which an individual or group thinks or behaves

Medical Definition

psychology

noun

psy·​chol·​o·​gy -jē How to pronounce psychology (audio)
plural psychologies
1
: the science of mind and behavior
2
a
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on psychology

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