retro "psych"

Mark A. Mandel mamandel at LDC.UPENN.EDU
Wed Apr 27 04:33:04 UTC 2005

I wrote:

>I very much doubt that the spelling "Psyche!" in the source material
>represents a disyllabic pronunciation as in Greek myth. Probably it was
>simply "Um, now how do I spell this? Use a silent 'e' there, right?", on
>a word that the users understood as an abbreviation for "psychology",
>give or take some syntactic tomfoolery, but had never seen in written
>form, especially the "schoolkids".

Ben Zimmer replied:
Keep in mind that the other senses of "psych" as noun or verb (derived
from "psychology", "psychic", "psychoanalyze", etc.) very often have
"psyche" as an alternate spelling. In fact, for one sense -- a psychic
(i.e., deceptive) bid in bridge -- the OED says "psyche" is the preferred

Nice evidence. So we're in agreement.

-- Mark A. Mandel
[This text prepared with Dragon NaturallySpeaking.]

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