Monday, 24 September 2012

Ψ: Psychology Symbol

Many of you might have asked yourselves about how we symbolize psychology.The most common symbol of psychology is Ψ. Where does that come from though?

The fact is that to discover the origin of the psychology symbol, you simply have to trace its etymology (word origin and sense development).
As can be seen from the image below the symbol for psychology represents the penultimate letter of the Greek alphabet, psi, which is also the first letter of the Greek word psuche, meaning mind or soul, from which the term psyche arose; which in turn gave us the name of the discipline psychology which is most commonly defined as study of the mind.

Evidence for the etymological origin of the psych symbol can be traced back as early as 1879. The following definition is taken from the book "New Word Analysis (School Etymology of English Derivative Words)" by William Swinton.