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life instinct

See under death instinct.
Origin of life instinct
First recorded in 1905-10

death instinct

suicidal tendency or inclination; predisposition to self-destruction.
Psychoanalysis. an impulse to withdraw or destroy, working in opposition to forces urging survival and creation (life instinct)
First recorded in 1915-20 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for life instinct
Historical Examples
  • The machines intertwined their lessons with the basic drives, weaving a pattern of learned behavior with the life instinct.

    The Status Civilization Robert Sheckley
  • The dance satisfied this life instinct, which, when that outlet was made difficult, sought some other way.

    An Anarchist Woman Hutchins Hapgood
  • The life instinct in me would not be doomed, but was insistent in its demands and made me flee from insanity and death.

    An Anarchist Woman Hutchins Hapgood
  • The life instinct was fully awakened in him now, as the dread from which he had run became more distant.

    The Story of Ab Stanley Waterloo
British Dictionary definitions for life instinct

life instinct

(psychoanal) the instinct for reproduction and self-preservation
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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life instinct in Medicine

life instinct n.
In psychoanalytic theory, the instinct of self-preservation and sexual procreation.

death instinct n.
A primitive impulse for destruction, decay, and death, manifested by a turning away from pleasure, postulated by Sigmund Freud as coexisting with and opposing the life instinct. Also called Thanatos.

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