What does ego mean?

Here's a list of possible definitions for the term ego:

Princeton's WordNet

  1. ego, egotism, self-importance(noun)

    an inflated feeling of pride in your superiority to others

  2. self, ego(noun)

    your consciousness of your own identity

  3. ego(noun)

    (psychoanalysis) the conscious mind


  1. ego(n.)

    (Psychoanalysis) that one of the three parts of a person's psychic apparatus that mediates consciously between the drives of the id and the realities of the external physical and social environment, by integrating perceptions of the external world and organizing the reactions to it. Contrasted with the id and superego.

  2. ego(n.)

    egotism; as, a job requiring a diplomat without too much ego.

  3. ego(n.)

    self-esteem; as, he has an overinflated ego.

  4. ego(n.)

    The conscious and permanent subject of all psychical experiences, whether held to be directly known or the product of reflective thought; the subject consciously considered as

  5. Origin: [L., I.]


  1. ego(Noun)

    the self, especially with a sense of self-importance

  2. ego(Noun)

    the most central part of the mind, which mediates with one's surroundings

  3. Origin: From ego. Chosen by Freud’s translator as a translation of his use of German Ich as a noun for this concept from the pronoun ich.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Ego(noun)

    the conscious and permanent subject of all psychical experiences, whether held to be directly known or the product of reflective thought; -- opposed to non-ego

  2. Origin: [L., I.]


  1. Ego

    In spirituality, and especially nondual, mystical, and eastern meditative traditions, individual existence is often described as a kind of illusion. This "sense of doership" or sense of individual existence is that part which believes it is the human being, and believes it must fight for itself in the world, is ultimately unaware and unconscious of its own true nature. The ego is often associated with mind and the sense of time, which compulsively thinks in order to be assured of its future existence, rather than simply knowing its own self and the present. The spiritual goal of many traditions involves the dissolving of the ego, allowing self-knowledge of one's own true nature to become experienced and enacted in the world. This is variously known as Enlightenment, Nirvana, Fana, Presence, and the "Here and Now". Eckhart Tolle comments that, to the extent that the ego is present in an individual, that individual is somewhat insane psychologically, in reference to the ego's nature as compulsively hyper-active and compulsively self-centered. However, since this is the norm, it goes unrecognised as the source of much that could be classified as insane behavior in everyday life. In South Asian traditions, the state of being trapped in the illusory belief that one is the ego is known as maya or samsara.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Ego

    ē′gō, n. the 'I,' that which is conscious and thinks.—ns. E′gōism (phil.), the doctrine that we have proof of nothing but our own existence: (ethics), the theory of self-interest as the principle of morality: selfishness; E′gōist, one who holds the doctrine of egoism: one who thinks and speaks too much of himself.—adjs. Egōist′ic, -al, pertaining to or manifesting egoism.—ns. Egō′ity, the essential element of the ego; E′gōtheism, the deification of self.—v.i. E′gotise, to talk much of one's self.—ns. E′gotism, a frequent use of the pronoun I: speaking much of one's self: self-exaltation; E′gotist, one full of egotism.—adjs. Egotist′ic, -al, showing egotism: self-important: conceited.—adv. Egotist′ically. [L. ego, I.]

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Ego

    and Non-Ego (i. e. I and Not-I, or Self and Not-Self), are terms used in philosophy to denote respectively the subjective and the objective in cognition, what is from self and what is from the external to self, what is merely individual and what is universal.

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Ego

    The conscious portion of the personality structure which serves to mediate between the demands of the primitive instinctual drives, (the id), of internalized parental and social prohibitions or the conscience, (the superego), and of reality.

Suggested Resources

  1. EGO

    What does EGO stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the EGO acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

British National Corpus

  1. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'ego' in Written Corpus Frequency: #3047

  2. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'ego' in Nouns Frequency: #2943

Anagrams for ego »

  1. Geo., goe

  2. Geo.

  3. Goe


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of ego in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of ego in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

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