As mentioned in this comment by John Lawler to this question I asked yesterday, know is not a psych verb.

What is a psych verb? I've heard this term before and vaguely guessed that it was a word describing a psychological state, but that's clearly not right.

I'm also curious whether psych verbs in English share some common features and if there are tests for psych-verb-hood.


1 Answer 1


I've never heard the term "psych verb" until now, but it seems you actually were at least half correct. From the examples I've seen, a psych verb is a transitive verb that expresses the emotion that the subject causes the object or vice versa. So "to please," "to hate," "to frighten" are all psych verbs, but "to know" is not, since it doesn't refer to an emotion.

Does that help?

  • This is only partly correct. See Doron (2020).
    – Keelan
    Commented Aug 15, 2023 at 5:44

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