Definition of death instinct in English:

death instinct

noun

Psychoanalysis
  • An innate desire for self-annihilation, thought to be manifest in the conservative and regressive tendency of the psyche to reduce tension.

    Compare with life instinct

    ‘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.’
    • ‘The conflict between libido and ego-instincts becomes a conflict between eros and the death instinct.’
    • ‘So it's suddenly obvious why Freud might want to connect repetition with that utterly final peacemaker, the death instinct.’

Pronunciation

death instinct

/deTH ˈinztiNG(k)t/ /dɛθ ˈɪnztɪŋ(k)t/ /ˈinstiNG(k)t/ /ˈɪnstɪŋ(k)t/