Some people seem to be born with a special intuition to always know things before they happen. Others have a special gift allowing them to see ghosts or talk to the dead. But are people with these unique talents psychics or mediums? And can the words psychic and medium be interchanged?
The answer is sometimes; psychic and _medium _aren’t always synonyms, and despite both having a spooky or supernatural connotation, they have distinct meanings as adjectives but not nouns.
What does psychic mean?
As an adjective, psychic means “of or relating to the human soul or mind,” or something mental as opposed to physical. It’s also defined in psychology as “pertaining to or noting mental phenomena,” which describes being in tune to some nonphysical force or agency. For example, Having heard that colors can provoke a psychic response, I decided to paint the room a calming blue.
Psychic _can also mean “sensitive to influences or forces of a nonphysical or supernatural nature.” So if someone or something is influenced by a mysterious force that’s outside physical science or knowledge, it’s a _psychic influence. For example, it was a psychic feeling that led him to run out of the building right before a fire started.
As an adjective, some synonyms for psychic__ are _spiritual, supernatural, paranormal, psychological, and metaphysical._
As a noun, psychic _refers to “a person who is sensitive to psychic influences or forces.” For example, _since she was a little girl, John’s grandmother has sworn she’s a psychic and can tell when something bad will happen. In addition to medium, other synonyms for psychic as a noun include clairvoyant, fortune-teller, and prophet.
First recorded in 1855–60, psychic originates from the Greek word psȳchikós, meaning “of the soul.”
What does medium mean?
If you’re a psychic, you probably already know that next up we’re going to talk about medium and the different meanings it has depending on which part of speech it is.
Medium as an adjective is defined as “about halfway between extremes, as of degree, amount, quality, position, or size.” For example, she has sensitive skin so instead of showering with hot water, she can only handle it at medium temperature. Synonyms for medium in this sense include average and intermediate.
As a noun, medium has a few different distinct meanings including: “a middle state or condition,” “the material or technique with which an artist works,” or “one of the means or channels of general communication, information, or entertainment in society, as newspapers, radio, or television.”
However, similar to psychic, medium can also mean “a person through whom the spirits of the dead are alleged to be able to contact the living.” For example: After her mother died suddenly, Lucy went to a medium to connect with her mom’s spirit and communicate one last time. Synonyms for medium _as a noun in this sense of being able to contact the dead include _spiritualist, clairvoyant, mind reader, and fortune-teller.