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[kuh-thek-sis] /kəˈθɛk sɪs/
noun, plural cathexes
[kuh-thek-seez] /kəˈθɛk siz/ (Show IPA).
the investment of emotional significance in an activity, object, or idea.
the charge of psychic energy so invested.
Origin of cathexis
1920-25; < New Latin < Greek káthexis a keeping, equivalent to kathek- (variant stem of katéchein to keep, hold on to, equivalent to kat- cat- + échein to have, hold) + -sis -sis, as translation of German Besetzung a taking possession of (Freud's term)
Related forms
[kuh-thek-tik] /kəˈθɛk tɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for cathexis


noun (pl) -thexes (-ˈθɛksiːz)
(psychoanal) concentration of psychic energy on a single goal
Word Origin
C20: from New Latin, from Greek kathexis, from katekhein to hold fast, intended to render German Besetzung a taking possession of
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cathexis

1922, from Latinized form of Greek kathexis "holding, retention," from PIE root *segh- "to hold" (see scheme (n.)). Used by psychologists to render Freud's (libido)besetzung.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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cathexis in Medicine

cathexis ca·thex·is (kə-thěk'sĭs)
n. pl. ca·thex·es (-thěk'sēz)
Concentration of emotional energy on an object or idea.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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