When you're at a lecture and you feel restless, you've got to sublimate the desire to move around. That means you force the desire to be more subtle so you can continue listening — even if you don't want to.

Psychologists use the verb sublimate to describe the process of channeling intense energy into something useful or appropriate. Freud sublimated his desire to live at home with his mother, and he moved into his own apartment. Sublimate is related to the word sublime — both words come from the Latin word sublimare, which means "to raise up" or "to exalt." So Freud's finally getting his own place is, arguably, a superior — a more exalted — living situation.

Definitions of sublimate

v change or cause to change directly from a solid into a vapor without first melting

Type of:
aerify, gasify, vaporise, vaporize
turn into gas

v make more subtle or refined

rarefy, subtilize
Type of:
alter, change, modify
cause to change; make different; cause a transformation

v direct energy or urges into useful activities

desexualise, desexualize
direct one's libidinous urges into another direction
Type of:
airt, redirect
channel into a new direction

v remove impurities from, increase the concentration of, and separate through the process of distillation

distill, make pure, purify
distil, distill
undergo the process of distillation
rectify, refine
reduce to a fine, unmixed, or pure state; separate from extraneous matter or cleanse from impurities
rid of impurities
Type of:
ameliorate, amend, better, improve, meliorate
to make better

v vaporize and then condense right back again

sublime (a compound) once again
Type of:
undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature

n the product of vaporization of a solid

bichloride of mercury, corrosive sublimate, mercuric chloride, mercury chloride
a white poisonous soluble crystalline sublimate of mercury; used as a pesticide or antiseptic or wood preservative
Type of:
a fluid in the gaseous state having neither independent shape nor volume and being able to expand indefinitely

adj made pure

free of extraneous elements of any kind

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