- to intimidate or frighten psychologically, or make nervous (often followed by out): to psych out the competition.
- to prepare psychologically to be in the right frame of mind or to give one's best (often followed by up): to psych oneself up for an interview.
- to figure out psychologically; decipher (often followed by out): to psych out a problem.
Origin of psych1
- Greek myth a beautiful girl loved by Eros (Cupid), who became the personification of the soul
- the human mind or soul
Word Origin and History for psyching
as a noun, short for psychology in various senses (e.g. as an academic study, in student slang by 1895). As a verb, first attested 1917 as "to subject to psychoanalysis," short for psychoanalyze. From 1934 as "to outsmart" (also psych out); from 1963 as "to unnerve." However to psych (oneself) up is from 1972; to be psyched up is attested from 1968.
1640s, "animating spirit," from Latin psyche, from Greek psykhe "the soul, mind, spirit; breath; life, one's life, the invisible animating principle or entity which occupies and directs the physical body; understanding" (personified as Psykhe, the beloved of Eros), akin to psykhein "to blow, cool," from PIE root *bhes- "to blow, to breathe" (cf. Sanskrit bhas-), "Probably imitative" [Watkins].
Also in ancient Greek, "departed soul, spirit, ghost," and often represented symbolically as a butterfly or moth. The word had extensive sense development in Platonic philosophy and Jewish-influenced theological writing of St. Paul (cf. spirit (n.)). Meaning "human soul" is from 1650s. In English, psychological sense "mind," is attested by 1910.
- The mind functioning as the center of thought, emotion, and behavior and consciously or unconsciously mediating the body's responses to the social and physical environment.
In Roman mythology, a beautiful girl who was visited each night in the dark by Cupid, who told her she must not try to see him. When she did try, while he was asleep, she accidentally dropped oil from her lamp on him, and he awoke and fled. After she had performed many harsh tasks set by Cupid's mother, Venus, Jupiter made her immortal, and she and Cupid were married. Her name is Greek for both “soul” and “butterfly.”
The mind, soul, or spirit, as opposed to the body. In psychology, the psyche is the center of thought, feeling, and motivation, consciously and unconsciously directing the body's reactions to its social and physical environment.