Word of the Week 1-16-2018

decathect

[dee-kuhthekt]

verb


Definition

to withdraw one’s feelings of attachment from (a person, idea, or object), as in anticipation of a future loss


Examples

It is getting easier now for me to decathect from Eugene. ~Patricia Marx, Him Her Him Again The End of Him, 2007

He decathected from her in order to cope with her impending death. ~Dictionary.com


Origin

Decathect is an extremely rare word in English, used only in Freudian psychology. It is formed from the common prefix de-, signifying privation or removal, and the very rare verb cathect “to invest emotional energy.” Cathect is a derivative of the adjective cathectic (from Greek kathektikόs “capable of holding or retaining”), from the noun káthexis “holding, possession, retention.” The English noun cathexis is an arcane translation or partial translation of Sigmund Freud’s Besetzung, a common, ordinary word in German meaning “(military) occupation, cast (of a play),” from the verb besetzen “to occupy, stock, fill.” Decathect entered English in the 20th century.


Dictionary.com

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