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
  1. verb
    change or cause to change directly from a solid into a vapor without first melting
    synonyms: sublime
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    type of:
    aerify, gasify, vaporise, vaporize
    turn into gas
  2. verb
    make more subtle or refined
    synonyms: rarefy, subtilize
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    type of:
    alter, change, modify
    cause to change; make different; cause a transformation
  3. verb
    direct energy or urges into useful activities
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    desexualise, desexualize
    direct one's libidinous urges into another direction
    type of:
    airt, redirect
    channel into a new direction
  4. verb
    remove impurities from, increase the concentration of, and separate through the process of distillation
    synonyms: distill, make pure, purify
    distil, distill
    undergo the process of distillation
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    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
  5. verb
    vaporize and then condense right back again
    synonyms: sublime
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    sublime (a compound) once again
    type of:
    undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature
  6. noun
    the product of vaporization of a solid
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    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
  7. adjective
    made pure
    free of extraneous elements of any kind
Word Family

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