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From French psychologie, from Renaissance Latin psychologia, from Ancient Greek ψυχή (psukhḗ, soul) + -λογία (-logía, study of), equivalent to psycho- +‎ -logy. The Latin term is believed by some to have been coined in a lost treatise by Croatian humanist Marko Marulić (1450–1524), but this is disputed by other scholars. It is first attested in the 1570s, at which time it was apparently already current, and may be a Hellenization of the established expression animā (on the soul) in titles.[1]



psychology (countable and uncountable, plural psychologies)

  1. (uncountable) The study of the human mind.
    • 2023, Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols: Bilingual English & German Edition, Newcomb Livraria Press, →ISBN, page 9:
      Idleness is the beginning of all psychology .
  2. (uncountable) The study of human or animal behavior.
  3. (uncountable, chiefly historical) The study of the soul.
    • 2010, Harold Tarrant, “Platonism before Plotinus”, in Lloyd P. Gerson, editor, The Cambridge History of Philosophy in Late Antiquity, volume 1, →ISBN:
      Alcinous in Didascalius chapter 23 uses the three physical locations of the human soul from Timaeus 69c–72c [] to lead into a dedicated discussion of psychology.
  4. (countable) The mental, emotional, and behavioral characteristics pertaining to a specified person, group, or activity.
    • 1970, Mary M. Luke, A Crown for Elizabeth, page 8:
      For generations, historians have conjectured everything from a warped psychology to a deformed body as accounting for Elizabeth's preferred spinsterhood...
    • 1969, Victor Alba, The Latin Americans, page 42:
      In the United States, the psychology of a laborer, a farmer, a businessman does not differ in any important respect.


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  1. ^ Vidal, Fernando (2011) The Sciences of the Soul: The Early Modern Origins of Psychology, University of Chicago Press, pages 25–26

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