Definition of psych in US English:


(also psyche)


  • 1informal with object Mentally prepare (someone) for a testing task or occasion.

    ‘we had to psych ourselves up for the race’
    • ‘Last year we weren't expected to do anything, so we psyched ourselves up and tore into them.’
    • ‘The Dublin team was clearly psyched up in preparation for the early exchanges and a Paul Gibbons miscalculation presented them with a scoring opportunity that was smothered by Gavin Dowling.’
    • ‘I'd psyched myself up mentally to face Branco and what I would have to do.’
    • ‘Along the way, which was only a five minute drive, Lyle silently listened to the uplifting music, and mentally psyched himself up for the date that was less than half an hour away from taking place.’
    • ‘‘Just being on the field psychs you up,’ he says.’
    • ‘I'm all psyched up for it, and I want to get it over with.’
    • ‘It's partly just mental - the whole emotion surrounding this race really psyched me up.’
    • ‘Sam and myself were keen to have a ferret around in Pippikin via Mistral, but Alan was all psyched up to do his first trip down Lancaster Hole.’
    • ‘It was a big disappointment because we'd been psyching ourselves up for it.’
    • ‘For me, though, all three flawed records are thick with interest, and Remain In Light is still the best LP I know for psyching me up to get through city bustle.’
    nerve oneself, steel oneself, gather up one's courage, screw up one's courage, summon up one's courage, prepare, prepare oneself, gear oneself up, arm oneself, brace oneself, get ready, urge oneself on, gird one's loins, gird up one's loins, get in the mood, get in the right frame of mind
    View synonyms
  • 2Bridge
    no object Make a psychic bid.

    • ‘I don't think it is any more unsportsmanlike to psych against a pair that may not be able to field it than it is to bid an aggressive contract that might require some help from the defense.’
    • ‘Stanford reached 4S after the auction began p-p-p-1S; Berkeley reached the same spot but only after Altus had been allowed to psych a 1D opening with the east cards, a point which may have had some influence on the play.’


  • 1informal

    • ‘During the interview after doing a brief 10 min test the psych said I would have difficulty in dealing with the course.’
    • ‘And the psych said the screaming was probably from the trauma of being shot.’
    • ‘Also, he fainted a couple of days ago, and the psych said he thought it was hypotension but was going to keep him longer to see.’
    • ‘There appears to have been a concerted effort to make this a professional publication, but without many of the psycho-babble words you often hear psychs using.’
    1. 1.1
      short for psychiatry or psychology
      • ‘In sports psych lingo, this is referred to as ‘facilitation versus debilitation.’’
      • ‘I bet if someone polled students finishing their 3rd year psych clerkships, they'd find we're a lot more comfortable recommending Zyprexa or Remeron than before.’
      • ‘Harking back to college psych textbooks, you know he is nothing if not a case study in passive aggression.’
      • ‘She was only one of the six other girls in that psych class.’
      • ‘The med/psych and the law / psych degrees are two completely different courses which are available.’
  • 2Bridge
    A psychic bid.

    • ‘So if someone psyches against you, don't get annoyed, it is just part of bridge: perhaps you might try a psyche yourself next time you play against them!’
    • ‘Whilst psyches are a legal and legitimate part of the game of bridge, and as such, are permissible within BCL, the guidelines of the WBF state that "the laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge 1997 permit a player to make a psychic call provided that such calls are not based on a partnership understanding."’


  • 1

    short for psychiatric
    • ‘After you're released from this room, the nurse said you'll have to go back to the psych ward.’
    • ‘Soon I was back on the psych ward, and I was scared.’
    • ‘As he tells it in Nervous System, things spiralled out of control and eventually, after a suicide attempt, Jensen found himself in a psych ward, as much absorbed in his delusions as the new life unfolding around him.’
    • ‘Being confined does weird things to your sense of self, taking away your freedom makes you afraid of it, afraid of wide open spaces when what you've known for five weeks are the hallway, OT room, and sitting area of the psych ward.’
    • ‘I forget myself when I am in there and forget that he is a patient in a psych ward.’
  • 2

    ‘a rare old psych album’
    short for psychedelic
    • ‘It's essentially electronic music with a strong influence from a whole range of other styles, everything from hip-hop to country to psych rock to free jazz - and it's all instrumental.’
    • ‘Amidst the blackout chaos, low attendance and some devious local politicking working against them, organizers of the Wilderbeat mod/garage / psych festival definitely learned about bad luck the hard way.’
    • ‘90's poppy/experimental / psych dreamers The Olivia Tremor Control played a couple shows here in NY last week, which I was eagerly awaiting for months.’
    • ‘So, under the assumption that he's a nice guy, I'm willing to forgive Smith's under-interview transgressions and just take his album for what it is: a pretty neat modern psych album.’
    • ‘They know exactly when to unleash the bombastic, fuzzy electric guitar to propel a sunny-day strummer to psych rock heaven.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • psych someone out

    • Intimidate an opponent or rival by appearing confident or aggressive.

      ‘guys who try to lift heavy weights in a mistaken attempt to psych out the other guys’
      • ‘We don't have big forwards who can hold on to the ball and psyche Melrose out, so we'll have to move the ball about as much as possible and hope that our forwards can run them ragged.’
      • ‘I got a good move to West Ham and broke my leg twice, I got to the World Cup semi-final and missed a penalty, and now I have been psyched out by Dave Beasant!’
      • ‘‘I planned to psych Michael out with a bit of eyeballing at the end,’ he said.’
      • ‘Hopefully the quality of my golf will psyche him out.’
      • ‘He says, ‘Don't let the appearance of your opponents psyche you out.’
      • ‘The plan was to psyche them out and annoy them and apparently this worked a treat.’
      • ‘They try their hardest to psyche you out, but that's the thing - when people try to psyche me out, I know they are weak.’
      • ‘He added, ‘Those players weren't bad but I think they were psyched out.’’
      • ‘If Roy Jones shows any hesitance, reluctance or excuses not to challenge Antonio Tarver, well then, even the world's greatest fool would know that Roy Jones has been psyched out and psychologically conquered by Antonio Tarver.’
      • ‘If they do not, there is a very real danger that, just as in 1991, they will be psyched out of a World Cup win, having paid too much attention to voices beyond the camp.’
      unsettle, upset, agitate, disturb, make nervous, put off, put off balance, put someone off their stroke, intimidate
      View synonyms
  • psych something out

    • Analyze something in psychological terms.

      • ‘What about the idea, Michael, of psyching your opponent out, does that actually come into any formal analysis of performance?’
      • ‘But he takes more wickets because he psyches batsmen out.’
      • ‘It was as though the dragon was attempting to psyche his foes out before the confrontation even started in the heat of the desert.’
      • ‘The women hassle the men also, and in fact I have to say Lana rocks at the way she psychs the men out.’
      • ‘With Trescothick out of the Test and probably the series with injury, the young off-spinner should have had no trouble in psyching the English batsmen out.’