Share this entry

death instinct Line breaks: death in|stinct

Definition of death instinct in English:


An innate desire for self-annihilation, proposed by certain psychologists. Compare with life instinct.
Example sentences
  • Freud considered that aggression was derived from the death instinct being redirected towards the external world.
  • Conversely, the death instinct originates with the birth of the human being and is an integral part of development, as has been pointed out by Freud and Klein.
  • Segal describes a psychic pain involving the expression of the death instinct.

Definition of death instinct in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day haughty
Pronunciation: ˈhɔːti
arrogantly superior and disdainful