a combining form meaning “fear,” occurring in loanwords from Greek (hydrophobia); on this model, used in the names of mental disorders that have the general sense “dread of, aversion toward” that specified by the initial element: agoraphobia.

Nearby words

  1. -philic,
  2. -philism,
  3. -philous,
  4. -phily,
  5. -phobe,
  6. -phobic,
  7. -phone,
  8. -phony,
  9. -phore,
  10. -phoresis

Origin of -phobia

< Latin < Greek, equivalent to -phob(os) -phobe + -ia -ia

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for -phobia


n combining form

indicating an extreme abnormal fear of or aversion toacrophobia; claustrophobia
Derived Forms-phobic, adj combining form

Word Origin for -phobia

via Latin from Greek, from phobos fear

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

Word Origin and History for -phobia


word-forming element meaning "excessive or irrational fear of," from Latin -phobia and directly from Greek -phobia "panic fear of," from phobos "fear" (see phobia). In widespread popular use with native words from c.1800. Related: -phobic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for -phobia



An intense, abnormal, or illogical fear of a specified thing:claustrophobia.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.