Enneagram Dictionary: Your Comprehensive Guide to Key Terms

We are helping you understand various terms with our Enneagram dictionary resource.

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

enneagram dictionary defintions of terms

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 we break down the Enneagram terminology into an easy to understand way, helping you deepen your understanding of your type and those types around you. 

enneagram dictionary

Use this Enneagram dictionary as your resource for learning the terms associated with this system.


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.

definitions enneagram explained

While there are many Enneagram definitions, we are simplifying it with this easy explanation.

The Enneagram is like a map for understanding people’s personalities. Imagine each person has a unique way of seeing the world and reacting to things around them.

enneagram map

The Enneagram helps us figure out these patterns by sorting personalities into nine main types.

Each type has its own strengths, weaknesses, fears, and desires. It’s kind of like having a guidebook to why we do the things we do and how we can get along better with others.

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

So, in simple terms, the Enneagram is like having a cheat sheet for understanding human nature, both our own and that of the people around us, helping us navigate life a little more smoothly.

This Enneagram definitions tool is to help you better understand what each of the terms used is. Reference back to this as you study and learn more about this.

Enneagram Type

An Enneagram type is one of the nine primary Enneagram personality profiles. Your type is like your home base in the Enneagram world, representing your main way of being and seeing the world.


A subtype is a further breakdown within each Enneagram type based on instinctual variants: self-preservation, social, or sexual (one-to-one). It’s like adding a filter to your core type to see how you interact with the world.

An Enneagram type is one of the nine primary Enneagram personality profiles. Your type is like your home base in the Enneagram world, representing your main way of being and seeing the world.

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 is one of the nine primary Enneagram personality profiles. Your type is like your home base in the Enneagram world, representing your main way of being and seeing the world.

Enneagram Wings

What is a wing? The adjacent numbers on either side of your main Enneagram type. Think of wings as your personality’s sidekicks, adding extra flavors and characteristics to your core type.

illustration demonstrating definitinos of enneagram wings

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. 

Here are some examples of Enneagram winggs: 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 Virtue

The Enneagram Sin virtue 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. 

You may see this Enneagram term explained as sin and counter virtue.


A state where you’re moving towards the positive traits of a different Enneagram type. It’s like leveling up in a game, where you gain new strengths and perspectives.


A phase where you adopt the negative traits of a different Enneagram type during stress or challenge. Imagine your personality taking a detour down a not-so-great path under pressure.

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.

Enneagram Title

The specific name or label given to each of the nine Enneagram types, is called the Enneagram title.

enneagram titles chart explaining type 1 9 titles

Here is a list of the Enneagram titles with the definitions of each of the 9 types:

Type 1: The Idealist
Type 2: The Helper
Type 3: The Achiever
Type 4: The Creative
Type 5: The Intellectual
Type 6: The Loyalist
Type 7: The Adventurer
Type 8: The Protector
Type 9: The Peacemaker

These titles capture the essence of each type’s core personality traits and motivations, offering a quick glimpse into their world.

Gut Heart Head Triads

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. Let’s look at the Enneagram definitions of each of the triads.

enneagram chart showing the gut heart head triads

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.

Gut Triad or Instinctive Triad

Here are the Enneagram types associated with the gut triad. This triad is also known as the body triad.

Type 1, Type 8, Type 9

The Enneagram’s Gut Triad, or Instinctive Triad, speaks to those of us guided by our innermost instincts and gut feelings.

gut triad

This triad delves deep into our primal urges to assert control, seek peace, and strive for perfection. It’s like having an internal compass that points us towards our most authentic selves, encouraging us to act with confidence and resilience.

Root Motivators for Gut Triads

Enneagram types that associate with the instinctive triad (or gut triad) are motivated and fueled by anger. They are concerned with maintaining resistance to reality.

Heart Triad or Feeling Triad

On the flip side of the gut triad is the Heart Triad, also known as the Feeling Triad. This triad brings together Types 2, 3, and 4, who navigate the world with their hearts wide open.

heart triad

The Feeling Triad is all about emotions, empathy, and connection, always seeking to understand and be understood by others. It’s as if their hearts speak a language all their own, creating bonds and fostering relationships with a warmth and sincerity that’s truly unparalleled.

Here are the Enneagram types associated with the Feeling Triad:

Type 2, Type 3, Type 4

Root Motivators for Heart Triad

Heart triad Enneagram types are motivated and fueled by shame. They are concerned with self-image (attachment to false personality.)

Head Triad or Thinking Triad

Last is the Head Triad, or Thinking Triad. This triad is where curiosity meets caution, and adventure meets analysis.

head triad

Individuals in this group are always pondering, planning, and questioning, using their intellect to navigate through life’s uncertainties. With a mind that’s always buzzing, they’re the architects of innovative solutions and the bearers of boundless imagination.

Here are the Enneagram types associated with the thinking triad:

Type 5, Type 6, Type 7

Root Motivators for Head Triad

Head triad Enneagram types are motivated 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 Approach

Here are the Enneagram types that associate with the reactive approach:

Type 4, Type 6, Type 8

When the needs are not met with an Enneagram type that coordinates with the reactive approach, here is how they react.

A reactive approach is an 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 Approach

The following Enneagram types associate with the positive outlook approach:

Type 2, Type 7, Type 9

When the needs are not met with an Enneagram type that coordinates with the positive outlook approach, here is how they react.

A positive outlook approach is 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 Approach

The competency approach is associated with these Enneagram types:

Type 1, Type 3, Type 5

When the needs are not met with an Enneagram type that coordinates with the competency outlook approach, here is how they react.

These types tend to 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.

An additional resource for learning about Enneagram harmonic approaches is fitzel.ca.


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.

Enneagram Tritypes take the journey of self-discovery a step further, blending elements from each of the three centers of intelligence—gut, heart, and head—to form a more nuanced portrait of our personality.

illustration showing enneagra tritype

Imagine carrying a piece of each world within you, harmonizing the instinctive reactions of the Gut Triad, the emotional depth of the Heart Triad, and the analytical prowess of the Head Triad.

This unique combination of one type from each triad creates a tritype, offering a multifaceted view of our psyche.

It’s like having a personalized map that guides us through the complexities of our motivations, fears, and desires, helping us to understand not just who we are, but why we are the way we are.

With 27 possible tritypes, the possibilities for self-exploration are as rich and varied as the tapestry of human experience itself.

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.

Center of Intelligence

The definition of the Enneagram term “Center of Intelligence” is the three main areas of human intelligence according to the Enneagram: thinking (head), feeling (heart), and instincting (gut).

enneagram center of intelligence gut heart and head

Each type is primarily associated with one, shaping how you process information and react.

Repressed Center

The Enneagram definition of repressed center is the intelligence center that is least developed or used. It’s like the blind spot in your personality’s approach to the world, often pointing to areas for potential growth.

Growth Path

A growth path is the journey of personal development specific to your Enneagram type.

enneagram definition of growth path a guide to the best version of you

This path guides you towards healthier behaviors and attitudes, helping you become the best version of yourself.

Thank you for exploring the Enneagram dictionary. This tool is crafted for everyone curious about the Enneagram, from beginners to seasoned enthusiasts, aiming to familiarize you with the terminology that makes this system so insightful.

As you navigate through our collection of common words and definitions, we hope you find clarity and a deeper connection to the Enneagram’s wisdom. Continue your journey of exploration and self-discovery with the Enneagram Dictionary as your companion.