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From Ancient Greek ψυχικός (psukhikós, relative to the soul, spirit, mind). Earlier referred to as "psychical"; or from Ancient Greek ψυχή (psukhḗ, soul, mind, psyche). First appeared (as substantive) 1871 and first records 1895.[1]



psychic (plural psychics)

  1. A person who possesses, or appears to possess, extra-sensory abilities such as precognition, clairvoyance and telepathy, or who appears to be susceptible to paranormal or supernatural influence.
  2. A person who supposedly contacts the dead; a medium.
  3. (Gnosticism) In gnostic theologian Valentinus' triadic grouping of man the second type; a person focused on intellectual reality (the other two being hylic and pneumatic).



psychic (comparative more psychic, superlative most psychic)

  1. Relating to or having the abilities of a psychic.
    You must be psychic—I was just about to say that.
    She is a psychic person—she hears messages from beyond.
  2. Relating to the psyche or mind, or to mental activity in general.
    • 1913, Abraham Brill, translator, The Interpretation of Dreams, translation of original by Sigmund Freud:
      In the following pages I shall demonstrate that there is a psychological technique which makes it possible to interpret dreams, and that on the application of this technique every dream will reveal itself as a psychological structure, full of significance, and one which may be assigned to a specific place in the psychic activities of the waking state.
    • 1967, R. D. Laing, The Politics of Experience and the Bird of Paradise:
      A pathological process called 'psychiatrosis' may well be found, by the same methods, to be a delineable entity, with somatic correlates, and psychic mechanisms []


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  1. ^ psychic” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2020.