[ sahy-kol-uh-jee ]
See synonyms for psychology on
noun,plural psy·chol·o·gies.
  1. the science of the mind or of mental states and processes.

  2. the science of human and animal behavior.

  1. the sum or characteristics of the mental states and processes of a person or class of persons, or of the mental states and processes involved in a field of activity: the psychology of a soldier; the psychology of politics.

  2. mental ploys or strategy: He used psychology on his parents to get a larger allowance.

Origin of psychology

From the New Latin word psȳchologia, dating back to 1675–85. See psycho-, -logy

Other words from psychology

  • pre·psy·chol·o·gy, noun

Words that may be confused with psychology

Words Nearby psychology Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use psychology in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for psychology


/ (saɪˈkɒlədʒɪ) /

nounplural -gies
  1. the scientific study of all forms of human and animal behaviour, sometimes concerned with the methods through which behaviour can be modified: See also analytical psychology, clinical psychology, comparative psychology, educational psychology, experimental psychology

  2. informal the mental make-up or structure of an individual that causes him or her to think or act in the way he or she does

Derived forms of psychology

  • psychologist, noun

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

Scientific definitions for psychology


[ sī-kŏlə-jē ]

  1. The scientific study of mental processes and behavior.

  2. The behavioral and cognitive characteristics of a specific individual, group, activity, or circumstance.Clinical psychology ♦ is the application of psychological knowledge to the diagnosis and treatment of patients.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for psychology


The science dealing with mental phenomena and processes. Psychologists study emotions, perception, intelligence, consciousness, and the relationship between these phenomena and processes and the work of the glands and muscles. Psychologists are also interested in diseased or disordered mental states, and some psychologists provide therapy for individuals. In the United States, however, psychologists, unlike psychiatrists, are not medical doctors. (See psychiatry.)

Notes for psychology

The two main divisions of psychology are individual or personality psychology and social psychology; social psychology deals with the mental processes of groups.

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.