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[ed-uh-puh l, ee-duh-] /ˈɛd ə pəl, ˈi də-/

adjective, (often initial capital letter)
of, characterized by, or resulting from the .

1939, “of or pertaining to desire felt for opposite-sex parent,” from Oedipus complex (1910), coined by Freud from Sophocles’ play “Oedipus Tyrannus,” in which the title character, the Theban hero, answers the Sphinx’s riddle and unknowingly kills his father and marries his own mother; from Greek Oedipus. The name was used figuratively in English from 1550s for “one who is clever at guessing riddles,” which had adjectival form Oedipean (1620s).

oedipal oed·i·pal or Oed·i·pal (ěd’ə-pəl, ē’də-)
Of or characteristic of the Oedipus complex.


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  • Oedipean

    [ed-uh-pee-uh n] /ˌɛd əˈpi ən/ adjective 1. of, relating to, or characteristic of Oedipus or the Oedipus complex.

  • Oedipism

    oedipism oed·i·pism (ěd’ə-pĭz’əm, ē’də-) n.

  • Oedipus

    [ed-uh-puh s, ee-duh-] /ˈɛd ə pəs, ˈi də-/ noun, Greek Legend. 1. a king of Thebes, the son of Laius and Jocasta, and the father by Jocasta of Eteocles, Polynices, Antigone, and Ismeme: as was prophesied at his birth, he unwittingly killed his father and married his mother and, in penance, blinded himself and went […]

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