Definition of mental in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈmɛnt(ə)l/


1Relating to the mind: mental faculties mental phenomena
More example sentences
  • Brentano did in fact hold that every mental phenomenon is an object of inner consciousness.
  • Why do you invest even one brain cell of your mental capital on figuring out his motivation?
  • The illness of a relative meant that we, his family, were fully aware of his abhorrence of the loss of mental faculty.
intellectual, cerebral, brain, rational, psychological, cognitive, abstract, conceptual, theoretical
rare mindly, phrenic
1.1Done by or occurring in the mind: a quick mental calculation she made a mental note to ring him later
More example sentences
  • I made a mental note to ring her back and let her know about all that was going on.
  • She made a mental note on her mind to inquire about his personal life more when she sees him again.
  • Not especially in a mood to linger and look around I made a mental note to return in a better frame of mind.
2Relating to disorders of the mind: a mental hospital
More example sentences
  • During her time as a patient no treatment for mental disorder or illness was given.
  • Indeed, psychiatrists do not talk of insanity but prefer to use terms such as mental illness or mental disorder.
  • Nowadays, music is both applied for patients with mental disorders and healthy people.
psychiatric, psychogenic
2.1 [predicative] informal Mad; insane: I think he was a little worried that I might be mental
More example sentences
  • That's one of the dangers for young actors - you get a bit of financial success and you go mental and blow it all.
  • As a symbol of Stein's greatness and a cue for the home fans to go mental, nothing beats the sight of that big silver pot.
  • I've never really got into them that much, so I let other people go mental and bought a couple of beers.


The use of mental in compounds such as mental hospital and mental patient was the normal accepted term in the first half of the 20th century. It is now, however, regarded as old-fashioned, sometimes even offensive, and has been largely replaced by the term psychiatric in both general and official use.



go mental

informal Lose one’s self-control, typically as a result of anger or excitement: the home crowd were going mental
More example sentences
  • By day nine or 10 I was starting to go mental. "
  • For five weeks of the year everyone goes mental.
  • The uncertainty of employment can make someone go mental.

chuck a mental

Australian informal Become unable to control one’s temper or emotions: he looks like he’s about to chuck a mental at any moment
More example sentences
  • Some stupid cow chucks a mental because he wouldn't let her 10 year old into a popular MA rated film.
  • I ended up my day with him chucking a mental at me over the stupidest thing imaginable.
  • I wouldn't want the moment of the century ruining by somebody chucking a mental when things were just hotting up.


Late Middle English: from late Latin mentalis, from Latin mens, ment- 'mind'.

  • mind from Old English:

    English mind shares its ancient root with Latin mens ‘mind’, from which demented (mid 17th century), mental (Late Middle English), and mention derive. The mind can do many wonderful things, including ‘boggling’. The phrase the mind boggles, meaning that someone becomes astonished or overwhelmed at the thought of something, is first recorded in the 1890s. Boggle itself is probably a dialect word related to bogle ‘a phantom or goblin’ and bogey ‘an evil or mischievous spirit’. Someone may have warned you to mind your Ps and Qs, ‘be careful to behave well and avoid giving offence’. The expression has been known since the 1770s, but its exact origins are uncertain. One obvious suggestion is that it comes from a child's early days of learning to read and write, when they might find it difficult to distinguish between the two tailed letters p and q. Another idea suggests that printers had to be very careful to avoid confusing the two letters when setting metal type. Mind how you go!, meaning ‘be careful, look after yourself’, has been common in Britain since the 1940s. It was popularized by the long-running BBC TV series Dixon of Dock Green (1955–76), in which it was a catchphrase of the avuncular PC George Dixon, along with evening all.

Words that rhyme with mental

dental, gentle, Oriental, parental, rental

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: men¦tal

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