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

Much of this is a sexist cultural construct, says Marianne LaFrance, a psychology professor at Yale University. Loren Savini, Allure, "Does Smiling Cause Wrinkles? No, and "Resting Bitch Face" Doesn't Prevent Them," 10 Oct. 2018 On Monday, the #MeToo movement will get its highest wattage moment yet when psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testify in front of Congress about one night in Maryland over 36 years ago. Vanessa Grigoriadis, Glamour, "Read This Before Asking Why Christine Blasey Ford Waited To Tell Her Brett Kavanaugh Story," 18 Sep. 2018 Marc Berman, a psychology professor at the University of Chicago whose research has contributed to this theory, said that nature could help people better concentrate. Ben Tobin, USA TODAY, "Desk, swivel chair, trees: Why companies are moving the office outdoors," 28 June 2018 Because people can feel stigma around issues of mental health, conversation is important, said Doug Samuel, associate psychology professor at Purdue University. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, "Farmers in America are killing themselves in staggering numbers," 26 June 2018 His psychology major at Wright State has come in handy. Scott Springer,, "Vineyard Golf Course GM Arnold shoots for PGA Championship spot," 13 June 2018 Carleton has taught college-level classes in statistics for psychology majors and written about advanced statistical analysis for Baseball Prospectus. Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "11 new baseball books that will help get you ready for opening day," 22 Mar. 2018 The intersection of human psychology, economics and politics is a complicated place. Neil Irwin, New York Times, "Two Words That Could Shape the Politics of the Trade War: Loss Aversion," 13 July 2018 Ashley Brett, a psychology researcher in her late 20s (who asked to use a pseudonym to protect her identity), knows that struggle well. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Should You Stay Friends With an Ex? Here's What Experts Say," 10 July 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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Statistics for psychology

Last Updated

16 Nov 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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to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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