The word “psyche” originates from ancient Greek, where it was spelled ψυχή (psykhē). In its earliest uses, it referred to the principle of life, distinguishing living things from non-living ones. The term was often associated with the breath, seen as a sign of life. Over time, “psyche” evolved in meaning, coming to represent the human soul, mind, or spirit. This evolution reflects the ancient Greeks’ understanding of the psyche as an entity responsible for thought, feeling, and personality.

The modern usage of “psyche” in psychology and everyday language as referring to the mind or mental processes continues this tradition, emphasizing the inner workings of the human mind and emotions.