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.

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.
Recent Examples on the Web But the national frustration is not the work of a business psychology mastermind. Eva Rothenberg, CNN, 17 Feb. 2024 Years later, in 2007, Samantha, who was a psychology student at Purdue University and a promotional model, was sent to a racing event where Kyle, then an up-and-coming racer, was participating. Skyler Trepel, Peoplemag, 17 Feb. 2024 For developmental psychology, that alone is a vital step. Connie Chang, The Atlantic, 15 Feb. 2024 Advertisement Intention is everything Jaz Robbins, a trauma therapist who teaches psychology at Pepperdine University, said the key to healthy compartmentalizing is intentionality. Deborah Netburn, Los Angeles Times, 14 Feb. 2024 Still, a 2020 review of 57 positive psychology programs found that more than half saw outcomes such as lower stress, anxiety, and depression; fewer behavioral issues; better self-image; and stronger social functioning. Cameron Pugh, The Christian Science Monitor, 7 Feb. 2024 Within this category, scientists are even bigger targets than activists or politicians, said coauthor John Cook, a psychology researcher at the University of Melbourne. Delger Erdenesanaa, New York Times, 6 Feb. 2024 There’s a luxuriantly sensuous quality to the prose of British novelist Deborah Levy — a tactile grasp of land, weather and flesh — that feels intensely cinematic while reading it, as well as an elliptical, concentrated interior psychology that feels liable to trip up any potential adapters. Guy Lodge, Variety, 3 Feb. 2024 Krause enrolled at Syracuse University in 1988, and graduated with a degree in psychology. Kevin Sanchez Farez, Fortune, 2 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'psychology.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 1 Mar. 2024.

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
Etymology

from scientific Latin psychologia "the study of the mind and behavior," derived from Greek psychē "soul, mind" and Greek -logia "science, study"

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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