Definition of psychedelic in English:



  • 1Relating to or denoting drugs (especially LSD) that produce hallucinations and apparent expansion of consciousness.

    • ‘The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and, so it seemed, half the youth of Britain and America were experimenting with psychedelic drugs; dresses were getting shorter and hair longer.’
    • ‘Scientific interest in human consciousness has spurred a recent revival in psychedelic drug research, and the debate over the therapeutic potential of these psychoactive brews.’
    • ‘Hallucinogen researcher Charles Grob says psychedelic drugs have the potential to alter modern medicine.’
    • ‘The acute effects that may be induced by psychedelic drugs encompass a broad spectrum of alterations in cognitive functioning.’
    • ‘For a lot of people this description of visions of snakes and animals and an enchanted forest really just sounds like a good old fashioned psychedelic experience.’
    • ‘Most psychedelic episodes remit within 12 hours and generally do not require medical treatment.’
    • ‘Complementary use of LSD and other psychedelic substances are popular in other subcultural groups as well.’
    • ‘Arjuna then experiences something that sounds to a modern reader like a psychotic break or psychedelic experience.’
    • ‘Those embracing the concept considered psychedelic drug effects as having great human intellectual potential and promoted their use as a means for auto-therapeutic healing and mind expansion.’
    • ‘Subjective reports from experienced users of psychedelic drugs can help us gain insights into both the nature of the subjective experience as well as the internal and external factors that affect it.’
    • ‘His work on the psychedelic drug culture of the 1960s is controversial because much of the way that US culture still thinks about any drug is in association with the most negative forms of drug abuse and addiction.’
    • ‘In the sixties, he took psychedelic drugs, and much of the art in this exhibit is hallucinatory - a cosmic free-for-all.’
    • ‘Nobody wants to have kids who are exploring different psychedelic experiences or unusual forms of sexuality.’
    • ‘They said they had great respect for LSD and other psychedelic drugs, and were well aware of their potential dangers.’
    • ‘Always at the forefront of change, Ram Dass led the baby boomers to psychedelic drugs, Eastern spirituality and social activism.’
    • ‘Two of the study respondents said that they had sought psychiatric assistance because of their psychedelic drug experiences.’
    • ‘At some point he recalled his fascination with psychedelic mushrooms and LSD in college.’
    • ‘Lilly invented the isolation tank (think ‘Altered States’), and was I believe the first person to use ketamine as a psychedelic drug.’
    • ‘Several respondents considered their normal psychological condition to be depressed, neurotic, and unstable, and suggested that this had been true before they ever tried psychedelic drugs.’
    • ‘Hagman said the psychedelic effects of the drug included seeing octopus-like creatures, lions with feathers and his long-dead grandmother.’
    unreal, unsubstantial, illusive, illusory, illusionary, imaginary, chimerical, ethereal, phantasmagorical, trance-like
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Relating to or denoting a style of rock music originating in the mid 1960s, characterized by musical experimentation and drug-related lyrics.
      • ‘This song started off sounding rather wistful and unobtrusive, but then grew into a psychedelic swirl of beats, voice and guitar that became completely captivating.’
      • ‘In just three albums, he has defined his own recognisable sound, rooted in psychedelic rock, spiritual jazz and contemporary dance music, and spurted hordes of followers.’
      • ‘The advent of decent recording technology was one of the main things that made truly psychedelic music possible in the first place, so it seems natural that the music should continue to evolve with the technology.’
      • ‘And so he goes, snaking his way back through the crowd to the front of the stage, where he reassumes his position as the high priest of Sweden's greatest psychedelic rock band.’
      • ‘The documentary explores folk music, street music, psychedelic rock, pop, rock, and many traditional forms of music.’
      • ‘When people think of psychedelic music and prog rock, they think of them as taking you someplace that is cosmic and untainted by anything bad.’
      • ‘Everything counts in this iconoclastic mix of psychedelic rock, jazz and pop.’
      • ‘His guitar playing was always the right side of avant-garde and here it shines amidst arrangements that bounce between psychedelic rock and Argentinian ambience.’
      • ‘The band perform and write all their own material, drawing from musical influences which range from blues rock to psychedelic surf music and jazz to gel into a unique sound that captures the musical environment of today.’
      • ‘Rugged garage rock, aggro shoegazing, psychedelic sunshine pop, abstract instrumentals and hippie balladry take shape with deliciously layered guitars, effects and sly, boyish vocals.’
      • ‘Tenor admits that he's always felt a bit of an outsider in life, and his music is as unconventional, bringing together influences ranging from jazz, easy listening and film music to psychedelic rock and cabaret.’
      • ‘A conspicuous thread of 60s psychedelic rock runs through the up-tempo tracks on the first part of the album.’
      • ‘To close the regular set, Greg Keelor sang the opening lines to ‘Diamond Mine’, to loud applause and led the band into a 10-minute trance of psychedelic rock.’
      • ‘It's just two guys who've been buddies for a long time and who love all sorts of music - doo wop, punk rock, psychedelic rock.’
      • ‘Both had outstanding natural ability and both experimented with many musical styles - Tim with folk, psychedelic rock and progressive jazz; Jeff with folk, reggae and classical music.’
      • ‘They were nice boys, brothers, who were drawn too deep into the dark depths of improvised and psychedelic music.’
      • ‘35 years later, along comes Lenola, with another double album that proves psychedelic music can still be pretty monochromatic, a full generation after the term came into being.’
      • ‘A Ritual Of Faith leaned more towards heavy gothic, very intense and psychedelic with really strong vocals.’
      • ‘It sounds like kodo mixed with psychedelic rock and dance music, all improvised, but it's unclassifiable.’
      • ‘There are washes of fuzz and two drummers pounding, but those are more like flashes of turbulence in a meandering stream of psychedelic swirl.’
    2. 1.2Denoting or having an intense, vivid color or a swirling abstract pattern.
      ‘a psychedelic T-shirt’
      • ‘This gradual return to strong, clear colors lasted well into the 1960s, culminating in the vivid psychedelic palette of the late decade.’
      • ‘They made ‘gaudy’ visual innovations - the heroic stance, the abstract element in comic art, psychedelic graphic design, bold use of color.’
      • ‘Their psychedelic element is heightened by bright, bright colour, like turquoise greens and those hot pinks.’
      • ‘The morning light reveals the whole spectrum of colors, which are intense, even psychedelic.’
      • ‘The psychedelic colours of Fish Fry brought out the best display of dramatics, fusion and theatrics.’
      • ‘The book's illustrations, many of them blow-ups of wild floral designs, are psychedelic in their intensity.’
      • ‘With inspirations from Morocco and India, designers love to have all the embellished details, psychedelic colours, rainbow prints and antique batik patterns in their new collections.’
      • ‘The film broods over the Oxford monuments, twisting them into a disturbingly fraught pattern of jumbled editing, splitting and screeching noises and swirling, psychedelic visuals.’
      • ‘But Eichner's slices of the built universe are all slightly off-square, and some (the wood grains) have patterns that are psychedelic meanderings.’
      • ‘Inside the van were painted psychedelic patterns, swirled rugs and several spaced out hippies reclined on a makeshift sofa.’
      • ‘Color selections include simple banded white or cream; vivid orange, red, and yellow; and positively psychedelic swirl combinations.’
      • ‘It will come as no surprise to their fans that the film is a phantasmagoria of sickly colours, psychedelic flourishes and jarring optical tics, all reflecting the state of mind of a character way out on the edge.’
      • ‘Fluorescent light fixtures attached to the ceiling illuminated the space, and the green, orange and yellow powder glowed with an otherworldly, psychedelic intensity.’
      • ‘Vibrant psychedelic colors replace the more subdued natural hues found in nature.’
      • ‘One thing I've noticed from the Arab world is a tendency toward psychedelic colors and patterns.’
      • ‘Seen en masse, the effect of these rippling colour fields, outlined by dark webs, is almost psychedelic.’
      • ‘Despite the bunching up of students in large droves of 30s, and the glaring psychedelic light sequences that alternated with a lot of pitch-dark moments, they did a good job.’
      • ‘Hipster trousers and a long jacket were made in almost psychedelic stripes of multi-coloured suede, PVC and ribbon sewn together so neatly as to seem seamless.’
      • ‘Later, House of Jazz playfully lifted up the sternness of black by mixing it with psychedelic colours and black and white chequered-patterns, creating a collection that pleased especially the young generation.’
      • ‘Despite the colourful, psychedelic nature of the images and lights on display, they are fuzzy at best.’
      brightly coloured, bright-coloured, deep-coloured, brilliant, glowing, radiant, vivid, rich, vibrant
      View synonyms


  • A psychedelic drug.

    • ‘Potential users should be advised that those who have inordinate levels of fear or doubt should not take LSD or other psychedelics.’
    • ‘Our intuition tells us that using drugs use such as heroin, cocaine, psychedelics, hashish, and even marijuana and alcohol can have serious effects on our personal life and may have broader detrimental impacts on society at large.’
    • ‘Siva's devotees are forbidden to use drugs of abuse, such as cocaine, heroin, amphetamines, barbiturates, psychedelics and marijuana, unless prescribed by a licensed physician.’
    • ‘According to data from the federal government's National Survey on Drug Use and Health, some 90 percent of illicit OxyContin users have also used cocaine, psychedelics, and other painkillers.’
    • ‘In addition, athletes might not perceive marijuana as being as harmful as cocaine or psychedelics, and therefore may be more inclined to try the perceived lesser of two evils.’


1950s: formed irregularly from psyche + Greek dēlos clear, manifest + -ic.