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[sahyk] /saɪk/
verb (used with object), Informal.
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.
Also, psyche.
1915-20 in earlier sense “to subject to psychoanalysis”; originally a shortening of psychoanalyze; in later use (especially in defs. 1 and 2) perhaps independent use of psych-


[sahyk] /saɪk/
noun, Informal.
psychology, especially as a course or field of study:
She took two semesters of psych in college.
1890-95; by shortening


variant of psycho- before some vowels:
psychasthenia. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for psych
  • Pop psych lore is a bewildering mix of fact and fallacy.
  • No one outside jock psych seemed terribly interested in what made people screw up.
  • There were psych factors as well, but they were created by a loose money environment.
  • My husband is disabled, and the pain meds and psych meds sometimes leave him forgetful.
  • We got the poster at a developmental psych online store.
  • Their lessons focused in part on ways to psych-out what kind of question it was and the answer the testers were looking for.
  • She spent a week at a mental health center, in the drooling stupor that is ubiquitous among psych patients here.
  • Put simply, evo psych posits that favorable traits during our hunter-gatherer days persisted in our modern contexts.
British Dictionary definitions for psych


(transitive) (informal) to psychoanalyse See also psych out, psych up
Word Origin
C20: shortened from psychoanalyse
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
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Word Origin and History for psych

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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psych in Medicine

psych- pref.
Variant of psycho-.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for psych



Psychiatry; psychiatric: makes it down from the psych ward on the 15th floor (1940s+)


Psychology, esp as an academic study (1895+ College students)

  1. (also psych out) To outsmart another person: The bastards psyched me (1934+ College students)
  2. To sense or infer the motives, behavior, etc, of others; feel out a situation: an uncanny ability to ''psych out'' audiences and make them love her (1961+)
  3. To unnerve someone; cause someone to lose composure, will, skill, etc: He won't psych me as he did her (1960s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Related Abbreviations for psych




  1. psychiatric
  2. psychiatry
  3. psychological
  4. psychologist
  5. psychology
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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