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[klaw-struh-foh-bee-uh] /ˌklɔ strəˈfoʊ bi ə/
an abnormal fear of being in enclosed or narrow places.
Origin of claustrophobia
1875-80; < Latin claustr(um) bolt (see claustrum) + -o- + -phobia
Can be confused
acrophobia, agoraphobia, claustrophobia. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for claustrophobia
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But you must not do this to a Breton fisherman full of drink and claustrophobia.


    John Galsworthy
  • You hear stories about going loopy from claustrophobia and stuff.

    The Planet Strappers Raymond Zinke Gallun
  • To-day he was feeling the claustrophobia of London more acutely than usual.

    H.M.S. ---- Klaxon
  • I have claustrophobia and would hate to git stuck in an over-sized fountain pen halfway to the middle of this earth.

    Operation Earthworm Joe Archibald
  • For the first time in the hundreds of hours he'd spent in the tank, he knew the meaning of claustrophobia.

  • Donne and Swift were morbid men suffering from claustrophobia.

  • The cigar was his protection, his secret weapon, against the claustrophobia the mosquitero gave him.

    The Five Arrows

    Allan Chase
  • claustrophobia is the malady of those who have a horror of close quarters from which they can not easily make their escape.

  • The sufferer from claustrophobia will invent any excuse to avoid an elevator or the theatre.

    Why Worry? George Lincoln Walton, M.D.
British Dictionary definitions for claustrophobia


/ˌklɔːstrəˈfəʊbɪə; ˌklɒs-/
an abnormal fear of being closed in or of being in a confined space
Derived Forms
claustrophobe, noun
Word Origin
C19: from claustro-, from Latin claustrumcloister + -phobia
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for claustrophobia

"morbid fear of being shut up in a confined space," coined 1879 (in article by Italian-born, French-naturalized Swiss-English physician Dr. Benjamin Ball (1834-1892)) from Latin claustrum "a bolt, a means of closing; a place shut in, confined place, frontier fortress" (in Medieval Latin "cloister"), past participle of claudere "to close" (see close (v.)) + -phobia "fear."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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claustrophobia in Medicine

claustrophobia claus·tro·pho·bi·a (klô'strə-fō'bē-ə)
An abnormal fear of being in narrow or enclosed spaces.

claus'tro·phobe' n.
claus'tro·pho'bic adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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claustrophobia in Culture
claustrophobia [(klaw-struh-foh-bee-uh)]

An abnormal fear of being shut in or enclosed.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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