Projecting Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

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Has anyone ever told you to stop projecting your feelings onto them? 

While projecting is commonly used in the realm of psychology, there’s a good chance you’ve heard the word used in heated discussions when people feel attacked. 

So, what exactly does projecting mean? And how can you tell if you’re projecting? We’ll tell you. Read on as we explore the word “projecting” to uncover its definition, origin, synonyms, and more. 

What Is the Definition of Projecting?

/prəˈdʒekt/ /prəˈdʒektɪŋ/

Our word of the day, projecting, is, according to the Collins English Dictionary, the present participle of project. So, to really get to a better understanding of projecting, let’s take a look at the meaning behind the word project:

  • Noun — Something that is planned, contemplated, or devises; a scheme or a plan

  • Verb — To plan, purpose, or contemplate

  • Noun — A housing project or the projects; primarily constructed in the back half of the 20th century. These housing projects were chiefly constructed as a development of high-rise towers containing apartments for low-income families.

  • Verb — To calculate or to set forth

  • Verb — To cause to protrude or jut out

  • Verb — To cause to fall upon a surface or throw upon a surface or into a space, as either a shadow or a ray of light

  • Noun — A long-term educational task undertaken by either a group of students or a singular student to illustrate, supplement, or apply classroom lessons

What Is Mental Projecting?

Additionally, projecting, or projection, rather, can be defined as a mental process by which a person attributes to others what is in their own minds. This psychological concept was first introduced by the Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud

Psychological projection is a defense mechanism and primarily a subconscious action at that. Simply put, your mind is not ready to process how you are feeling but still needs to receive some sort of outside perspective as to what is going on within your mind.

There are typically three types of projection you will run into:

  • Neurotic Projection
  • Complementary Projection
  • Complementary Projection

What Is the Word Origin of Projecting?

As mentioned previously, projecting is the present participle of project. 

With that being said, let’s dive into the etymology of project to get a better hold on the history of the word projecting. 

The Middle English noun project was first coined in 1350-1400 and is a derivative of both the Latin prōjectus (past participle of prōicere) and the Medieval Latin prōjectum.

What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Projecting?

To improve your overall understanding of the word projecting, you may find it helpful to review its synonyms and antonyms. 

The Synonyms of Projection

A synonym is a word or expression that has the same meaning as another word or expression. Synonyms of projecting include:

  • Protruding 
  • Prominent  
  • Bulging
  • Jutting 
  • Laying out
  • Bulbous
  • Proud 
  • Planning ahead 
  • Protuberant
  • Protrusive
  • Overhanging 
  • Excrescent
  • Obtrusive
  • Salient
  • Sending off 
  • Extrusive
  • Protruding
  • Beetling 
  • Overhang 
  • Scheming about
  • Strategizing about 
  • Gibbous 
  • Exsertile 
  • Conspicuous
  • Extruding  
  • Prognathous  
  • Sticking out 
  • Standing out
  • Jutting out
  • Distended
  • Extended
  • Convex
  • Swollen  
  • Swelling  
  • Popping  
  • Outjutting
  • Predictive
  • Prognostic
  • Popping out
  • Pushing out
  • Riding over 
  • prognosticative 
  • Prophetic  
  • Extrapolative
  • Foretelling
  • Stretching out
  • Prophetical  
  • Anticipating  
  • Foreboding
  • Thrusting out
  • Presaging
  • Conjecturing
  • Predicting
  • Surmising  
  • Poking out
  • Auguring  
  • Divining
  • Guessing
  • Marking out
  • Portending  
  • Diagnostic
  • Mapping out
  • Indicating  
  • Prescient
  • Drawing up 
  • Divinatory  
  • Clairvoyant
  • Apocalyptic  
  • Ominous
  • Lapping over
  • Pythonic  
  • Portentous
  • Auspicious
  • Bodeful 
  • Soothsaying
  • Peremptory  
  • Oracular
  • Prognosticating  
  • Forecasting
  • Proclaiming
  • Handing in 
  • Prophesying 
  • Extending
  • Bulgy
  • Bloated
  • Expanded
  • Full of oneself 
  • Hanging over 
  • Peninsular  
  • Raised
  • In your face 
  • Elevated
  • Curving 
  • Outward 
  • Sharp elbowed 
  • Pendent  
  • Humped
  • Sticking up 
  • Leaning over 
  • Embossed 
  • Hilly 
  • Swelling over
  • Hanging out 
  • Shooting out 
  • Ovoid
  • Tumid
  • Pear-shaped
  • Bulb-shaped
  • Balloon-shaped

The Antonyms of Projecting

In contrast, antonyms are words with opposite meanings. Antonyms of projecting include:

  • Sunken  
  • Concave  
  • Indented
  • Dented  
  • Depressed
  • Contracting
  • Inconspicuous 
  • Flush
  • Square
  • Reactive 
  • Recessed  
  • Guessing 
  • Second-guessing
  • Surmising 
  • Conjecturing
  • Hazarding
  • Postulating 
  • Caving in
  • Playing it by year 
  • Winging it 
  • Ad libbing 
  • Dished  
  • Underground 
  • Flat  
  • Even  
  • Withdrawal 
  • Receding
  • Set in 
  • Plane
  • Dipped
  • Horizontal  
  • Excavated
  • Smooth
  • Level
  • Hollow  
  • Hollowed  
  • Dimpled
  • Sinking 

How Can You Use Projecting in a Sentence?

Wondering how to use the word “projecting” in a sentence? Here are a few example sentences for you to review below:

“It clearly does not take a mental health professional to see that our coworker over there is projecting and is unable to show his true feelings on the subject.” 

“I would appreciate it if you stopped projecting your own feelings onto me.”

“Tonya’s self-esteem diminished greatly after her project manager kept projecting his personal feelings on her.”

“You really love to blame others for all your shortcomings, don’t you? It is blatantly obvious you are projecting your own insecurities onto others; you have to see that.” 

“As long as you’re projecting good vibes, I don’t mind.”

“I suspect that Bob is projecting his insecurities onto you.”

“You are projecting again, but it’s okay… I’m not angry.”

“School officials are projecting a major rise in student numbers next year.”

What Are Translations of Projecting?

Now that you understand what our word of the day means, let’s review a few translations, shall we?

Translations of projecting: 

  • Afrikaans — projektering
  • Arabic — اسقاط
  • Bulgarian — Проектиране
  • Chinese (simplified) — 投影 
  • Croatian — projektiranje
  • Czech — projektování
  • Danish — Projektering
  • Dutch — Projecteren
  • American English — projecting
  • Finnish — ulkoneva
  • French — Projection
  • German — Projektierung
  • Greek — Προβολή
  • Italian — Proiettando
  • Japanese — 突き出た
  • Korean — 예상
  • Norwegian — Projisere
  • Polish — Projektowanie
  • Portuguese — saliente
  • Russian — выступающий
  • Spanish — proyectante
  • British English — projecting
  • Swedish — Projicera
  • Thai — ฉาย ภาพ
  • Turkish — projecting
  • Ukrainian — Проектування
  • Vietnamese — Quy hoạch 


To sum it up, projecting is defined as the present participle of project. 

That being said, the adjective projecting can also refer to something that is sticking or jutting out — though this is primarily used in the British English dialect.


Projecting definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 

projection | Definition, Theories, & Facts | Britannica

Defense Mechanisms | Simply Psychology