: investment of mental or emotional energy in a person, object, or idea
Did You Know?
You might suspect that cathexis derives from a word for "emotion," but in actuality the key concept is "holding." Cathexis comes to us by way of New Latin (Latin as used after the medieval period in scientific description or classification) from the Greek word kathexis, meaning "holding." It can ultimately be traced back (through katechein, meaning "to hold fast, occupy") to the Greek verb echein, meaning "to have" or "to hold." Cathexis first appeared in print in 1922 in a book about Freud's psychological theories (which also established the plural as cathexes, as is consistent with Latin), and it is still often used in scientific and specifically psychological contexts.
"In 2004, Bowie had a heart attack, and he was recently rumored to be in poor health. Leading up to the release of 'The Next Day,' a jittery cathexis formed. Do we judge Bowie as we always have, by his own standards? Would a new album be received reverentially, like those of the post-motorcycle-crash Bob Dylan?" — Sasha Frere-Jones, The New Yorker, 18 Mar. 2013
"… young lovers who marry during the giddy rush of cathexis, when the hormonal highs of romantic love prompt them to be in love with being in love, often find there's no cement to tightly bind their relationship." — Mike Masterson, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 25 Dec. 2016
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Word Family Quiz
What 5-letter word beginning with "e" is derived from Greek echein ("to hold") and refers to an event or a time marked by an event that begins a new period or development?VIEW THE ANSWER
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