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Oedipus complex Syllabification: Oed·i·pus com·plex
Pronunciation: /ˈedəpəs ˌkämpleks/

Definition of Oedipus complex in English:


(In Freudian theory) the complex of emotions aroused in a young child, typically around the age of four, by an unconscious sexual desire for the parent of the opposite sex and a wish to exclude the parent of the same sex. (The term was originally applied to boys, the equivalent in girls being called the Electra complex.).
Example sentences
  • The Oedipus complex is the psychoanalytic term everyone knows, and the ideas behind it were first mooted in 1899's The Interpretation of Dreams.
  • Jung also argued that the Oedipus complex was not the universal phenomenon that Freud declared it to be.
  • This was to become the personal (though by no means exclusive) basis for his theory of the Oedipus complex.


Early 20th century: by association with Oedipus.

Definition of Oedipus complex in:
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