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

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 The two sets of 24-year-old twins first crossed paths at Grand Valley State University four years ago when Kassie and Nick met in a psychology class. Janine Puhak, Fox News, "Identical twin newlywed couples honeymoon at Disney World," 15 Aug. 2018 Levine had a doctorate in psychology from the Graduate Center, City University of New York, graduating in 1972. Bree Burkitt, azcentral, "'Death can't take away all the good': Slain counselor Marshall Levine remembered," 9 June 2018 Risker grew up in tiny Archie, Missouri (population 1,028 in the 2010 census), about 50 minutes south of Kansas City, and earned a bachelor's in psychology from the University of Missouri in Columbia. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, "Jessica Risker sharpens her sweet songs on a hazy new album," 18 Apr. 2018 Abdulraheem, who has a degree in psychology from Spelman College in Atlanta, had plans. Will Higgins, Indianapolis Star, "This mom worried about a 'purse snatching' while waiting for her new heart," 4 Apr. 2018 Allen, born in Maine in 1901, received degrees in chemistry and biology from the University of Maine and a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Michigan. Jeff Suess, Cincinnati.com, "Our history: CISV camps promoted world peace through children," 28 Feb. 2018 Stone graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in psychology from Maine. Lori Nickel, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Whitefish Bay native brings Midwest pride to 'Revenge Body'," 13 Feb. 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

23 Apr 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 affect and impair by alcohol or a drug

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
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!