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OTHER WORDS FROM claustrophobicclaus·tro·pho·bi·cal·ly, adverb
Words nearby claustrophobic
What does claustrophobic mean?
Claustrophobic is used to describe a person who has feelings of claustrophobia—the fear of being in (and not being able to get out of) small or confined spaces, such as tunnels, elevators, and crowded rooms.
Claustrophobic is also commonly used to describe confined spaces that may make people feel this way.
Claustrophobia is recognized as a psychological disorder and is often considered a kind of anxiety disorder. Those who are diagnosed with it often experience extreme anxiety when in confined spaces or when facing the possibility of being in one, which can result in a panic attack. But the word claustrophobia is also commonly used in a more general way to refer to the anxious discomfort that many people feel when they’re in an enclosed space. (In this way, many people’s feelings of claustrophobia don’t constitute a disorder.) Claustrophobic is also commonly used in this general way.
Phobias are fears associated with specific objects or activities. These abnormal (unusual) fears are typically considered irrational (not based on reason) because the object of the fear isn’t usually harmful. Often, these fears are formed around a traumatic event.
People who are claustrophobic were once commonly referred to with the term claustrophobe, and some may still identify in this way, but this and many other similar labels based on medical conditions are often considered dehumanizing. It is now typically preferred to avoid the use of the word claustrophobe and focus on the person first instead of their condition, as in Kevin is claustrophobic or Kevin has claustrophobia (not Kevin is a claustrophobe).
Example: I try to avoid even getting near tight spaces that may make me feel claustrophobic.
Where does claustrophobic come from?
The first records of the word claustrophobic come from the late 1800s. It comes from the Latin claustr(um), meaning “barrier,” and -phobic, the adjective form of -phobia, from a Greek word meaning “fear.” It follows the same pattern as many adjectives based on specific phobias, such as agoraphobic (used to describe people who have a fear of crowds and public spaces).
Claustrophobia is one of the most common phobias. However, not everyone who feels claustrophobic experiences this feeling in a way that rises to the level of an anxiety disorder. Those who do may experience feelings of anxiety, hyperventilation, tightness in the chest, trembling, and panic attacks, among other symptoms. Treatment of claustrophobia can involve psychotherapy and medication.
Spaces described as claustrophobic may be small and confined, such as a phone booth, or crowded, with not much space to move around.
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What are some other forms related to claustrophobic?
- claustrophobia (noun)
What are some words that share a root or word element with claustrophobic?
What are some words that often get used in discussing claustrophobic?
How is claustrophobic used in real life?
Claustrophobic is commonly used in a general way to describe people feeling discomfort in tight spaces, or the spaces that make them feel that way.
— Business Insider (@businessinsider) March 1, 2015
For people who hate crowds & get claustrophobic, this could be a good thing. https://t.co/x5akT34D7s
— Rachel King (@rachelking) August 12, 2020
— Men's Health Style (@MensHealthStyle) January 29, 2017
How to use claustrophobic in a sentence
The current design creates “a claustrophobic feeling for everyday border-crossers,” he said.
It would be nice to be able to say more about D’Amato’s tactics, but Stone’s claustrophobic camerawork is so tight on each actor’s face that it’s nearly impossible to determine what’s actually happening on the field.
Head director Paris Barclay, one of TV’s all-time greats, never let anything feel claustrophobic or stagey, staying out of the way of the actors but still offering several beautiful shots per episode.One Good Thing: HBO’s In Treatment will soothe your shattered nerves|Emily VanDerWerff|November 6, 2020|Vox
If the weather turns inclement, a tight tent is a claustrophobic nightmare, whereas an oversize one can make an excellent wrestling ring or tea house.
Some exercise masks, like the Asics Runner Mask and Under Armour Sports Mask, are designed to sit off the face to avoid some of the claustrophobic feeling people can experience.What You Need to Know About Wearing a Face Mask Outside|Joe Lindsey|September 30, 2020|Outside Online
He felt claustrophobic in the schooling system there, and needed to prove himself.
His sanity is slowly unraveling, like the claustrophobic narrator of The Tell-Tale Heart.‘Interstellar’ Is Wildly Ambitious, Very Flawed, and Absolutely Worth Seeing|Marlow Stern|November 7, 2014|DAILY BEAST
I could barely move at all without a nervous, claustrophobic feeling taking hold—which is exactly the point.
The new buildings make them feel claustrophobic, permanently in shadow.Imagining Prince Charles as King Makes All of Britain Wish They Could Leave Like Scotland|Clive Irving|September 17, 2014|DAILY BEAST
As such, being led through the set by production designer Michael Shaw is a journey best described as “claustrophobic jubilation.”
His chains jingled and a whiff of armpit wafted across the claustrophobic hollow.Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town|Cory Doctorow