Definition of imago in US English:



  • 1Entomology
    The final and fully developed adult stage of an insect, typically winged.

    • ‘The 7-rayed imago is approximately 1.5 mm diameter.’
    • ‘After a third larval stage they pupate in the nest material and emerge as imagos after the fledglings have left the nest.’
    • ‘Almost instantly the larvae mutate into full grown imagos and you have yourself an Entopod battalion.’
    • ‘He stands apart from the new flight of British composers, ‘who seem very sure of themselves, like an imago, a butterfly that enters the world fully formed.’’
    • ‘The imago can become multiradiate at the time of metamorphosis, or it can be 5-rayed at metamorphosis and add the supernumerary rays during post larval growth stages.’
  • 2Psychoanalysis
    An unconscious idealized mental image of someone, especially a parent, which influences a person's behavior.

    • ‘To be sure, in both Freudian and Lacanian accounts this scenario establishes the ‘first’ sexual relations: those attached to the imago of the mother and to the autoeroticism associated with narcissism.’
    • ‘Back here, I briefly mentioned the idea of the imago.’
    • ‘They constitute a single set of systematic transfigurations of the Yagwoia transpersonal, archetypal imagos of their Self and its energies.’
    • ‘Lacan's elaboration of the Jungian concept of the imago seems instructive here.’
    • ‘The ego's defence is to split off the aggression and to project it onto parental imagos who in turn threaten to destroy the child.’


Late 18th century (in imago (sense 1)): modern Latin use of Latin imago ‘image’. imago (sense 2) dates from the early 20th century.