[ men-tl ]
/ ˈmɛn tl /
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Informal. a person with a psychological disorder: a fascist group made up largely of mentals.
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Origin of mental

First recorded in 1375–1425; late Middle English, from Middle French, from Late Latin mentālis, equivalent to Latin ment- (stem of mēns ) mind + -ālis-al1

Other definitions for mental (2 of 2)

[ men-tl ]
/ ˈmɛn tl /

of or relating to the chin.

Origin of mental

First recorded in 1720–30; from Latin ment(um) “the chin” (see mentum) + -al1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does mental mean?

Mental is an adjective that means relating to the mind.

It is especially used in contrast with physical, which means relating to the body. Mental is commonly used in the context of psychological disorders or the care and treatment of people who have them. One of its most common uses is in the phrase mental health.

Mental is sometimes used as a slang term with the same meaning as the informal sense of crazy, especially in the U.K. It’s typically used to describe a person or their behavior as being extreme or illogical in some way. Keep in mind, however, that when used in this way, words like crazy and mental may reinforce harmful stereotypes and associations with mental illness.

Example: To be an elite athlete, you have to be physically strong, but you also have to perfect the mental aspects of your game.

Where does mental come from?

The first records of mental come from around the 1400s. It comes from the Late Latin term mentālis, which derives from the Latin mens, meaning “mind.”

Due to the rise in acceptance, study, and treatment of mental illness, mental is very closely associated with such issues. It is often seen in phrases like mental health, mental fatigue, and mental hygiene. It is also very commonly used in a general way to describe things related to the mind or done in the mind, such as in the phrases mental note (a thought to remember something later), mental image (a picture seen in one’s mind), and mental math or mental arithmetic (math done in one’s head, as opposed to with a calculator or on paper).

Mental also has a definition separate from the mind entirely. The word mentum refers to the chin, so mental can be used to mean “relating to the chin.”

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What are some other forms related to mental?

  • mentally (adverb)

What are some synonyms for mental?

What are some words that share a root or word element with mental


What are some words that often get used in discussing mental?

How is mental used in real life?

Mental is most generally used to indicate things done with or in the mind as opposed to with the body. It is very closely associated with issues of mental health.



Try using mental!

Which of the following actions is LEAST likely to be described as mental?

A. calculating a sum in your head
B. meditating
C. doing a push-up
D. picturing something in your mind

How to use mental in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for mental (1 of 2)

/ (ˈmɛntəl) /

of or involving the mind or an intellectual process
occurring only in the mindmental calculations
affected by mental illnessa mental patient Preferred form: psychiatric
concerned with care for persons with mental illnessa mental hospital Preferred form: psychiatric
slang insane

Derived forms of mental

mentally, adverb

Word Origin for mental

C15: from Late Latin mentālis, from Latin mēns mind

British Dictionary definitions for mental (2 of 2)

/ (ˈmɛntəl) /

anatomy of or relating to the chinAlso: genial

Word Origin for mental

C18: from Latin mentum chin
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