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.
Entries linking to psychosomatic
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]
before vowels somat-, word-forming element used in the sciences from mid-19c. and meaning "the body of an organism," from combining form of Greek sōma (genitive sōmatos) "the body, a human body dead or living, body as opposed to spirit; material substance; mass; a person, human being; the whole body or mass of anything," a word of uncertain origin.
According to Watkins perhaps originally "compactness, swelling," and from PIE root *teue- "to swell," but Beekes finds for it "no convincing etymology." In Homer sōma is typically "dead body," as opposed to demas "living body, bodily shape, outward appearance;" in philosophy it is opposed to psykhē "the soul, mind, spirit." The Greek word also was used generally of material substances and physical masses.
*teuə-, also *teu-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to swell."
It forms all or part of: butter; contumely; creosote; intumescence; intumescent; protuberance; protuberant; psychosomatic; somato-; -some (3) "body, the body;" soteriology; Tartuffe; thigh; thimble; thousand; thole (n.); thumb; tumescent; tumid; tumor; truffle; tuber; tuberculosis; tumult; tyrosine.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Avestan tuma "fat;" Greek tylos "callus, lump;" Latin tumere "to swell," tumidus "swollen," tumor "a swelling;" Lithuanian tukti "to become fat;" Lithuanian taukas, Old Church Slavonic tuku, Russian tuku "fat of animals;" Old Irish ton "rump."
updated on January 20, 2021
Dictionary entries near psychosomatic