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[hahy-puh-kon-dree-ak] /ˌhaɪ pəˈkɒn driˌæk/
Also, hypochondriacal, H05/H0509000 hahy-poh-kuh n-drahy-uh-kuh l, ˌhaɪ poʊ kənˈdraɪ ə kəl. Psychiatry.
  1. pertaining to or suffering from hypochondria, an excessive preoccupation with and worry about one's health:
    The comedy is aimed at the hypochondriac demographic.
  2. produced by hypochondria:
    Hypochondriac feelings overwhelmed her.
Anatomy, Zoology. of or relating to the hypochondrium.
Psychiatry. a person suffering from or subject to hypochondria.
a person who worries or talks excessively about his or her health.
Origin of hypochondriac
1605-15; < New Latin hypochondriacus < Greek hypochondriakós affected in the upper abdomen. See hypochondria, -ac
Related forms
hypochondriacally, adverb
Word story
Hypochondriac comes ultimately from the Greek word hypokhondria, which literally means “under the cartilage (of the breastbone).” In the late 16th century, when hypochondriac first entered the English language, it referred to the upper abdomen.
The upper abdomen, it turns out, was thought to be the seat of melancholy at a time when the now-outdated medical theory of the four humors (blood, phlegm, yellow bile [choler], and black bile [melancholy]) was accepted as a basis for legitimate health practice. In the 17th century, hypochondriac referred to people who suffered from “depression and melancholy without cause,” though we might suppose from the name of this malady that many depressed patients complained of abdominal pains, which otherwise went undiagnosed. “Vapors,” another archaic disorder connected to the upper abdomen, was used as a euphemism for PMS in a time when such things were not discussed in polite conversation. Because doctors were male at this time, “women’s problems” were largely written off as fits of hysteria (another obsolete medical term of Greek origin, from the word for womb).
It wasn’t until the 19th century that hypochondriac described someone who suffered “illness without a specific cause.” This sense is still widely used, though today we diagnose modern hypochondriacs by their overuse of the website WebMD.
Related Quotations
“[T]here was a pleasurable illumination in your eye occasionally, a soft excitement in your aspect, which told of no bitter, bilious, hypochondriac brooding.“
—Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847)
“The uncomfortable feelings of the hypochondriac are excessively magnified by his fears and the concentration of his thoughts and attention to his disease.“
—Dr. Prichard, “Hypochondriasis“ The Cyclopaedia of Practical Medicine: Comprising Treatises On the Nature and Treatment of Diseases, Materia Medica and Therapeutics, Medical Jurisprudence, Etc., Etc., Volume 2 edited by Sir John Forbes, Alexander Tweedie, John Conolly (1833)
“Aziz’s mother, a notorious hypochondriac, complained at length about her latest bout of indigestion.“
—Laila Lalami, Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits (2005) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hypochondriac
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "And you set me down as a hypochondriac, then," said Upton, smiling.

    The Fortunes Of Glencore Charles James Lever
  • He was as awkward, as hypochondriac, as literal, as strict as ever.

    The Long Roll Mary Johnston
  • The pill eater is a hypochondriac and very likely his doctor knows it.

    Evening Round Up

    William Crosbie Hunter
  • “You always were a bit of a hypochondriac,” observed his friend.

    The Untouchable Stephen A. Kallis
  • Now he is joyous to the point of folly, anon gloomy as a hypochondriac.

  • Chateaubriand was a hypochondriac, Musset a lunatic, Victor Hugo a maniac.

    The Growth of a Soul August Strindberg
  • Mr. H. was an invalid; he was the worst kind of an invalid—a hypochondriac.

    The Funny Side of Physic A. D. Crabtre
  • The pill eater is a hypochondriac, and very likely his doctor knows it.

    Think Col. Wm. C. Hunter
  • I replied that I was not a hypochondriac; so they called me Ignoramus and went their way.

    Man And Superman George Bernard Shaw
British Dictionary definitions for hypochondriac


a person suffering from hypochondria
relating to or suffering from hypochondria
(anatomy) of or relating to the hypochondrium
Derived Forms
hypochondriacally, adverb
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 hypochondriac

1590s, "pertaining to the hypochondria," also "afflicted with melancholy," from French hypocondriaque (16c.), from Medieval Latin hypochondriacus, from Greek hypokhondriakos "pertaining to the upper abdomen," from hypokhondria (see hypochondria). The noun is from 1630s, "melancholy person;" in the modern sense from 1888.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hypochondriac in Medicine

hypochondriac hy·po·chon·dri·ac (hī'pə-kŏn'drē-āk')
A person afflicted with hypochondria. adj.

  1. Relating to or afflicted with hypochondria.

  2. Relating to or located in the left or right hypochondrium.

hy'po·chon·dri'a·cal (-kŏn-drī'ə-kəl) 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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hypochondriac in Culture
hypochondriac [(heye-puh-kon-dree-ak)]

A person who constantly believes he or she is ill or about to become ill.

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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