• synonyms


noun, plural li·bi·dos.
  1. Psychoanalysis. all of the instinctual energies and desires that are derived from the id.
  2. sexual instinct or sexual drive.
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Origin of libido

1890–95; < Latin libīdō desire, willfulness, lust, akin to libēre to be pleasing
Related formsli·bid·i·nal [li-bid-n-l] /lɪˈbɪd n l/, adjectiveli·bid·i·nal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for libidinal


noun plural -dos
  1. psychoanal psychic energy emanating from the id
  2. sexual urge or desire
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Derived Formslibidinal (lɪˈbɪdɪnəl), adjectivelibidinally, adverb

Word Origin

C20 (in psychoanalysis): from Latin: desire
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

Word Origin and History for libidinal


1922, in psychology jargon, from libido (Latin genitive libidinis) + -al (1).

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"psychic drive or energy, usually associated with sexual instinct," 1892, carried over untranslated in English edition of Krafft-Ebing's "Psychopathia Sexualis"; and used in 1909 in A.A. Brill's translation of Freud's "Selected Papers on Hysteria" (Freud's use of the term led to its popularity); from Latin libido "desire, lust," from libere "to be pleasing, to please," ultimately cognate with Old English lufu (see love (n.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

libidinal in Medicine


(lĭ-bēdō, -bī-)
n. pl. li•bi•dos
  1. The psychic and emotional energy associated with instinctual biological drives.
  2. Sexual desire.
  3. Manifestation of the sexual drive.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

libidinal in Culture



In Freudian psychology, the energy associated with the desires that come from the id.

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Libido is loosely used to mean sexual desire.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.