Medical Definition of Libido

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Libido: 1. Sexual drive. 2. In psychoanalysis, the psychic energy from all instinctive biological drives.

Libido in Latin means "desire, longing, fancy, lust, or rut." Although the adjective libidinous, meaning lustful, has been used in English for 500 or so years, libido only entered the language in 1913, thanks to Sigmund Freud and other psychoanalysts who applied the term to psychic energy or drive, and especially to the sexual instinct.

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Reviewed on 12/12/2018

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