ego

noun

ˈē-(ˌ)gō How to pronounce ego (audio)
 also  ˈe-
plural egos
1
: the self especially as contrasted with another self or the world
2
3
: the one of the three divisions of the psyche in psychoanalytic theory that serves as the organized conscious mediator between the person and reality especially by functioning both in the perception of and adaptation to reality compare id, superego
egoless adjective

Did you know?

Ego is the Latin word for "I." So if a person seems to begin every sentence with "I", it's sometimes a sign of a big ego. It was the psychologist Sigmund Freud (well, actually his original translator) who put ego into the popular vocabulary, but what he meant by the word is complex, so only other psychologists really use it in the Freudian sense. The rest of us generally use ego simply to mean one's sense of self-worth, whether exaggerated or not. When used in the "exaggerated" sense, ego is almost the same thing as conceit. Meeting a superstar athlete without a trace of this kind of ego would be a most refreshing experience. But having a reasonable sense of your own worth is no sin. Life's little everyday victories are good—in fact, necessary—for a healthy ego.

Examples of ego in a Sentence

I have enough ego not to want to give up easily in any contest or competition. a star athlete with a refreshing lack of ego
Recent Examples on the Web But there is one person who Peltz said does not have any ego: Tesla founder Elon Musk. Alex Weprin, The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Apr. 2024 Hard work, patience, and eliminating ego from decision-making processes are the qualities that form a true leader. Kyle Russell, USA TODAY, 4 Apr. 2024 Following these principles required our team to put aside our biases and our egos and get back down to ground level and spend thousands of hours communicating with our customers. Emil Lim, Forbes, 29 Mar. 2024 Signs of narcissism can instead range from having a large ego to experiencing a sense of self that's pathologically grand. Catherine Dibenedetto, Health, 19 Mar. 2024 On Change the Game, Jinks trades hardscrabble ego and road-dog grit for vulnerability, accountability, and redemption. Garret K. Woodward, Rolling Stone, 24 Mar. 2024 While Aries are fiery and ego driven, Libras are calm, balanced and focused on harmony. Katie Mannion, Peoplemag, 19 Mar. 2024 Chief executives who get along with him have to swallow their egos — something that might prove difficult for someone as prominent as Mr. Iger, especially given all the recent vitriol. Lauren Hirsch, New York Times, 16 Mar. 2024 What happens when the team without egos had one of the area’s best seasons of the era, capturing the Northern California Open Division championship and coming within 90 seconds of dethroning the defending champion in the state final? Darren Sabedra, The Mercury News, 15 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ego.' 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, from Latin, I — more at i

First Known Use

1789, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of ego was in 1789

Dictionary Entries Near ego

Cite this Entry

“Ego.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ego. Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

ego

noun
plural egos
1
: self entry 2 sense 1
especially : the conscious self
2
a
: conceit sense 1
has a big ego

Medical Definition

ego

noun
ˈē-(ˌ)gō also ˈeg-(ˌ)ō
plural egos
1
: the self especially as contrasted with another self or the world
2
: the one of the three divisions of the psyche in psychoanalytic theory that serves as the organized conscious mediator between the person and reality especially by functioning both in the perception of and adaptation to reality compare id entry 1, superego

More from Merriam-Webster on ego

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