verb (used with object) Psychoanalysis.
to invest emotion or feeling in (an idea, object, or another person).
Origin of cathect
1930–35; back-formation from cathectic relating to cathexis
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
1936, psychoanalysis jargon, back-formation from cathectic (1927), from Greek kathektikos, from kathexis (see cathexis).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper