Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A person with an antisocial personality disorder, manifested in aggressive, perverted, criminal, or amoral behavior without empathy or remorse.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A person with a personality disorder indicated by a pattern of lying, cunning, manipulating, glibness, exploiting, heedlessness, arrogance, delusions of grandeur, sexual promiscuity, low self-control, disregard for morality, lack of acceptance of responsibility, callousness, and lack of empathy and remorse. Such an individual may be especially prone to violent and criminal offenses.
  • n. A person diagnosed with antisocial or dissocial personality disorder.
  • n. A person who has no moral conscience.
  • n. A person who perpetrates especially gruesome or bizarre violent acts.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A morally irresponsible person.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. someone with a sociopathic personality; a person with an antisocial personality disorder (`psychopath' was once widely used but has now been superseded by `sociopath')

Etymologies

Back-formation from psychopathic.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From German psychopatisch, from Ancient Greek ψυχή (psyche, "soul") + πάθος (pathos, "suffering"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Thus, I propose that the medical community move to formally and exclusively resurrect the term psychopath where the honor is due, if only for basic public health and safety purposes.

    Melody Moezzi: Get to the Doctor, Dr. Ahmadinejad!

  • Now, officially, psychiatrists don ` t use the term psychopath anymore.

    The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America

  • Several of the 20 items require the examiner to rate personality traits that we historically think of when we use the term "psychopath," such as whether the person shows a lack of remorse or guilt, appears callous, seems superficially charming, and has an inflated sense of self-worth i.e., the personality component.

    NPR Topics: News

  • My primary reservation about using the PCL-R in the criminal justice system is that research suggests its personality component and the label "psychopath" are highly stigmatizing, evoking images of fictional villains like Hannibal Lecter as well as real-world serial killers such as Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer.

    NPR Topics: News

  • We should remember, however, that the term psychopath is a concept, one not necessarily fully present in reality.

    Earthpages.ca - Think Free

  • No, given the stature of psychopaths like Hitler, Stalin, and Ted Bundy, Bill Clinton is not in the same league nor should he have his image inset next to the term psychopath in the dictionary.

    QandO

  • Though we prefer to use the term psychopath to refer to those born lacking a healthy emotional substratum that renders human morality and conscience active in individuals, we agree that the condition is becoming an epidemic in our days and suggest the following books to anyone interested in educating themselves on the subject:

    Signs of the Times

  • Does Senator Sessions not know that the defining trait of a psychopath is a total lack of empathy?

    Senators signal fierce ideological debate in Sotomayor hearings

  • The pathological lying just fits together with a lot of what you called a psychopath and a drama queen.

    CNN Transcript Mar 23, 2009

  • Well, after her father's documentary which likens the royal family to "gangsters in tiaras" and Prince Philip was referred to as a "psychopath," Lily looks unlikely to ever being invited to any future royal events.

    Yvonne Yorke: Prince William on Honeymoon As Controversial Diana Film Premieres in Cannes

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Comments

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  • How crazy people get through the forest?

    January 7, 2010

  • Son, this is the United States of America. Some would say it's unconstitutional to try to prevent psychopaths from fulfilling their potential.

    From 'Odd Thomas' by Dean Koontz.

    October 3, 2009