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Enneagram Definitions

All of these Enneagram words, but what do they mean? We have created a simple Enneagram definitions dictionary to help you decipher what each term means.

Our Enneagram Dictionary is to used as a simple tool in helping you better understand some of the terms used when people talk about the Enneagram. Hopefully these definitions will help you grasp a better understanding of what each means. 

Learn what these common words used in reference to the Enneagram means. Here are Enneagram definitions to help deepen your understanding of your type and those types around you. 

enneagram definitions
Enneagram definitions


So what does ENNEAGRAM means? The dictionary definition is: a nine-sided figure used in a particular system of analysis to represent the spectrum of possible personality types.

The word Enneagram comes from the Greek words ἐννέα [ennéa, meaning “nine”] and γράμμα [grámma, meaning something “written” or “drawn”.]

Character of God

Character of God is used in The Road Back To You to explain an aspect of God’s character that we need.  If you are a Enneagram 1, the character of God is the goodness of God. 


An Enneagram type typically is composed of 2 numbers. The first number is the type that you relate most to. The wing number is a Enneagram type that is either to the left or right of your number (adjacent number) that also describes your personality, but is not as strong as the prominent number. 

Enneagram Wing Types

Here are some Enneagram wing examples: 7w8 – 7 is the main Enneagram type, Enneagram 8 is the wing or secondary type. Someone who is a 7w8 would carry the majority of the traits of a Enneagram 7, but also possess those of an Enneagram 8. 

Here are the various types that a Enneagram personality type with wing can carry. 

It is said that no one is a pure personality type. Since everyone is a unique mixture of his or her basic type and usually one of the two types adjacent to it on the circumference of the Enneagram chart. 

Sin and Counter Virtue

When talking about sin and counter virtue, here is what this means in regards to the Enneagram.


The Enneagram Sin refers to the deadly sin that the specific Enneagram type can fall into.  The sins are based off of the 7 deadly sins, plus 2 additional sins. 

  • Anger or Wrath
  • Pride
  • Envy
  • Greed or Avarice
  • Gluttony
  • Deceit
  • Fear
  • Lust
  • Sloth

Counter Virtue

The Counter Virtue is the virtue that the Enneagram type should work to achieve. 

Stress and Security

Stress and Security are the types that you go to when in stress or security. You may also hear stress and security described as such:

STRESS – direction of integration 

SECURITY – growth or direction of integration 


An Enneagram title is specific to each personality type. 


Triads are the three main subdivisions of the Enneagram. There are 3 triads. The triads show us where our imbalances are and help us do the transformational work within ourselves. 

Gut Heart Head Triad

Each triad represents a basic component of the human psyche: instinct, feeling and thinking – or also known as the gut, heart, head triads. 

This Gut Heart Head Triad chart shows you where each Enneagram type falls in the triad and what their root motivators / fuel are for why they do what they do. 

TYPE 8, TYPE 9, TYPE 1Motivated and fueled by anger.
They are concerned with maintaining resistance to reality.
TYPE 2, TYPE 3, TYPE 4Motivated and fueled by shame.
They are concerned with self-image (attachment to false personality.)
TYPE 5, TYPE 6, TYPE 7Motivated and fueled by fear.
They are concerned with anxiety.

Harmonic Approaches

There are three Harmonic approaches: Reactive Approach, Positive Outlook Approach and Competency Approach. The Harmonic approach for each type describes how the type handles conflict, adversity and situations when their needs are not being met.

REACTIVE APPROACHTYPE 4, TYPE 6, TYPE 8Reactive Approach – emotionally reactive under stress. These types tend to work themselves up when a problem happens and have a hard time containing their feelings. 
POSITIVE OUTLOOK APPROACHTYPE 2, TYPE 7, TYPE 9Positive Outlook Approach – generally optimistic and tend to avoid negative thoughts or situations. Under stress, they seek to avoid the problem, distract themselves with something else, or minimize the problem.
COMPETENCY APPROACHTYPE 1, TYPE 3, TYPE 5Competency Approach – these Enneagram types try solving problems in an objective, unemotional manner. Unlike the reactive approach, they don’t get worked up when problems happen, they remain cool and emotionally detached from them.



While controversial in the Enneagram community, the Tritypes theory is based on the belief that along with our core type, we have two other “core” types, one for each triad. Tritype theory suggests that while individuals primarily utilize one of the main Enneagram Types as their ‘core type,’ everyone actually employs three central Enneagram Types – the one that is the most dominant within each center of intelligence (the Head (TYPE 5, TYPE 6, TYPE 7), Heart (TYPE 2, TYPE 3, TYPE 4) and Gut (TYPE 8, TYPE 9, TYPE 1) centers respectively). 

The word Tritype was formed from Latin, with the prefix tri meaning three, and the word type added referring to the Enneagram types.

The Tritype theory was coined by Enneagram researcher and coach Katherine Chernick Fauvre.



You have your type and title (ex. The Perfectionist for Type 1).