a pathological fear of heights.

Origin of acrophobia

From New Latin, dating back to 1890–95; see origin at acro-, -phobia
Related formsac·ro·pho·bic, adjective, noun
Can be confusedacrophobia agoraphobia claustrophobia Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for acrophobia

Contemporary Examples of acrophobia

Historical Examples of acrophobia

  • Probably the commonest is acrophobia, so that the detailed consideration of it shows the indications for other dreads.


    James J. Walsh

British Dictionary definitions for acrophobia



abnormal fear or dread of being at a great height
Derived Formsacrophobic, adjective, noun

Word Origin for acrophobia

C19: from acro- + -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

Word Origin and History for acrophobia

"morbid fear of heights," 1887, medical Latin, from Greek akros "at the end, the top" (see acrid) + -phobia "fear." Coined by Italian physician Dr. Andrea Verga in a paper describing the condition, from which Verga himself suffered.

In this paper, read somewhat over a year ago at the congress of alienists at Pavia, the author makes confession of his own extreme dread of high places. Though fearless of the contagion of cholera, he has palpitations on mounting a step-ladder, finds it unpleasant to ride on the top of a coach or to look out of even a first-story window, and has never used an elevator. ["American Journal of Psychology," Nov. 1888, abstract of Verga's report]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for acrophobia




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

Culture definitions for acrophobia



An abnormal fear of heights.

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