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

  • n. One who is affected with a personality disorder marked by antisocial behavior.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A person with an antisocial personality disorder, exhibiting antisocial behavior that usually is the result of social and environmental factors in the person's early life.

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personality; a person with an antisocial personality disorder (`psychopath' was once widely used but has now been superseded by `sociopath')


Coined c. 1930 by George Everett Partridge, American psychologist; socio- + -path (Wiktionary)



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  • One question people often ask is if there is a difference between a sociopath and a psychopath. Barring the fact that many psychologists deny the existence of either, in a clinical setting the difference is purely semantic. Robert Hare has pointed out that sociologists are more likely to focus on the environmental or socially modifiable facets of the disorder, so prefer the term sociopathy, whereas psychologists and psychiatrists prefer to include the genetic, cognitive, and emotional factors as well as the social factors when making a diagnosis, and therefore would opt for psychopathy. Since I am a brain scientist and am interested in the genetic and neurological causes of this personality disorder, I will use the term psychopath for the purposes of this book.
    James Fallon, The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist's Personal Journey into the Dark Side of the Brain (New York: Current, 2013), p. 17

    February 1, 2016