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See more synonyms for libido on Thesaurus.com
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

Related Words for libido

lust, sexuality, eroticism, passion

Examples from the Web for libido

Historical Examples of libido

  • Libido is what earlier psychologists called "will" or "tendency."

    Collected Papers on Analytical Psychology

    C. G. Jung

  • Libido can perhaps be described as "effect," or "capacity for effect."

  • Libido is an expression taken from the theory of the emotions.

  • Libido: Life-force, élan vital, or (restricted) the energy of the sex-instinct.

    Outwitting Our Nerves

    Josephine A. Jackson and Helen M. Salisbury

  • On the opposite page Pudicitia—in a very spirited attitude—is driving her spear through the throat of Libido.

British Dictionary definitions for libido


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 for libido

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 libido


"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

libido 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.

libido 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.