1640s, "animating spirit, the human spirit or mind," from Latin psyche, from Greek psykhē "the soul, mind, spirit; life, one's life, the invisible animating principle or entity which occupies and directs the physical body; understanding, the mind (as the seat of thought), faculty of reason," also "ghost, spirit of a dead person;" probably akin to psykhein "to blow, breathe," also "to cool, to make dry."
These are sometimes traced to a PIE root *bhes- "to blow, to breathe" (source also of Sanskrit bhas-), "Probably imitative" [Watkins]. Beekes finds this tempting but not convincing and doubts the existence of the PIE verb based on scant evidence.
Personified by the Greeks as Psykhē, the beloved of Eros, often represented as a fair young girl; the butterfly was her symbol. Also in ancient Greek, "departed soul, spirit, ghost," seen as a winged creature 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 (compare spirit (n.)). Thus in Biblical use the Greek word was "the soul as the seat of feelings, desires, affections, etc.," also "the soul regarded as a moral being designed for everlasting life," and "the soul as an essence which differs from the body and is not dissolved by death." In English, the meaning "human soul" is from 1650s; the psychological sense of "mind" is attested by 1910.
In the Jewish-Alexandrine Pauline, and Neo-Platonist psychology, the psyche is in general treated as the animating principle in close relation to the body, whereas the pneuma (as representing the divine breath breathed into man), the nous, and the Logos (q.v.) stand for higher entities. They are the more universal, the more divine, the ethically purer. By this more explicit separation of the intellectual and ethical activities from the physiological the conception of the mental or psychical (in the modern sense) was at length reached. ["Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology," J.M. Baldwin, ed., London, 1902]
word-forming element meaning "cold, characterized by cold, capable of enduring low temperatures," from Latinized form of Greek psykhros "cold," from psykhrein "blow, make cool or cold," which is perhaps from the same root as yielded psyche.
word-forming element meaning "mind, mental; spirit, unconscious," from Greek combining form of psykhē "the soul, mind, spirit; life, one's life, the invisible animating principle or entity which occupies and directs the physical body; understanding, the mind (as the seat of thought), faculty of reason" (see psyche). It also was used to form compounds in Greek, such as psychapates "soul-beguiling" (with apate "deceit").
"the theory or therapy of treating mental disorders by investigating unconscious elements and bringing repressed fears and conflicts to the patient's awareness," from Psychoanalyse, coined 1896 in French by Freud from Latinized form of Greek psykhē "the soul, mind, spirit; understanding" (see psyche) + German Analyse, from Greek analysis (see analysis). Freud earlier used psychische analyse (1894).
1847, "pertaining to the relation between mind and body; relating to both soul and body," from Greek psykhē "mind" (see psyche) + sōmatikos, from sōma (genitive sōmatos) "body" (see somato-). Applied from 1938 to physical disorders with psychological causes. Etymologically, it could as easily apply to emotional disorders with physical causes, but it is rarely so used.