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1922, from Latinized form of Greek kathexis "holding, retention," from PIE root *segh- "to hold" (see scheme (n.)). Used by psychologists to render Freud's (libido)besetzung.
cathexis ca·thex·is (kə-thěk'sĭs)n. pl. ca·thex·es (-thěk'sēz) Concentration of emotional energy on an object or idea.