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the investment of emotional significance in an activity, object, or idea.
the charge of psychic energy so invested.
Contemporary Examples

Drooling over such luxury was supposed to result in a cathexis of the Ralph Lauren label.
The Year of Fashion Photography Philip Gefter September 30, 2009

noun (pl) -thexes (-ˈθɛksiːz)
(psychoanal) concentration of psychic energy on a single goal

1922, from Latinized form of Greek kathexis “holding, retention,” from PIE root *segh- “to hold” (see scheme (n.)). Used by psychologists to render Freud’s (libido)besetzung.

cathexis ca·thex·is (kə-thěk’sĭs)
n. pl. ca·thex·es (-thěk’sēz)
Concentration of emotional energy on an object or idea.


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