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[sahy-ki-del-ik] /ˌsaɪ kɪˈdɛl ɪk/
of or noting a mental state characterized by a profound sense of intensified sensory perception, sometimes accompanied by severe perceptual distortion and hallucinations and by extreme feelings of either euphoria or despair.
of, relating to, or noting any of various drugs producing this state, as LSD, mescaline, or psilocybin.
resembling, characteristic of, or reproducing images, sounds, or the like, experienced while in such a state:
psychedelic painting.
a psychedelic drug.
a person who uses such a substance.
Also, psychodelic.
Origin of psychedelic
1956; psyche + Greek dêl(os) visible, manifest, evident + -ic
Related forms
psychedelically, adverb
prepsychedelic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for psychedelic


relating to or denoting new or altered perceptions or sensory experiences, as through the use of hallucinogenic drugs
denoting any of the drugs, esp LSD, that produce these effects
(informal) (of painting, fabric design, etc) having the vivid colours and complex patterns popularly associated with the visual effects of psychedelic states
Derived Forms
psychedelically, psychodelically, adverb
Word Origin
C20: from psyche + Greek delos visible
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 psychedelic

occasionally psychodelic, 1956, of drugs, suggested by British-born Canadian psychiatrist Humphry Osmond (1917-2004) in a letter to Aldous Huxley and used by Osmond in a scientific paper published the next year; from Greek psykhe- "mind" (see psyche) + deloun "make visible, reveal," from delos "visible, clear," from PIE root *dyeu- "to shine" (see diurnal). In popular use from 1965 with reference to anything producing effects similar to that of a psychedelic drug or enhancing the effects of such a drug. As a noun from 1956.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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psychedelic in Medicine

psychedelic psy·che·del·ic (sī'kĭ-děl'ĭk)
Of, characterized by, or generating hallucinations, distortions of perception, altered states of awareness, and occasionally states resembling psychosis. n.
A drug, such as LSD or mescaline, that produces such effects.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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psychedelic in Culture
psychedelic [(seye-kuh-del-ik)]

A descriptive term for things that produce or are related to hallucinations, especially drugs such as LSD.

Note: Psychedelic art, most popular during the late 1960s and early 1970s, combines patterns, objects, light, and sound to simulate hallucinatory experiences.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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