an abnormal or unnatural dread of water.

Origin of hydrophobia

1540–50; < Late Latin < Greek hydrophobía. See hydro-1, -phobia
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hydrophobia

Contemporary Examples of hydrophobia

  • Perhaps because of these factors, even today, blacks appear to be more prone to hydrophobia than whites.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Drowning Race Gap

    Constantino Diaz-Duran

    August 7, 2010

Historical Examples of hydrophobia

British Dictionary definitions for hydrophobia



another name for rabies
a fear of drinking fluids, esp that of a person with rabies, because of painful spasms when trying to swallowCompare aquaphobia
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 hydrophobia

late 14c., idroforbia, a symptom of rabies in man (sometimes used for the disease itself), from Late Latin hydrophobia (Celsius, 50 C.E.), from Greek hydrophobos "dreading water," from hydr-, stem of hydros "water" (see water (n.1)) + phobos "dread, fear" (see phobia). So called because human sufferers show aversion to water and have difficulty swallowing it.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

hydrophobia in Medicine




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

hydrophobia in Science



Abnormal fear of water.
Word History: Hydrophobia is an older term for the disease rabies, and it means “fear of water.” Because of this name, many people think that rabies makes one afraid of water. In fact, this is not the case (although rabies does cause mental confusion of other kinds). The name hydrophobia comes from the fact that animals and people with rabies get spasms in their throat muscles that are so painful that they cannot eat or drink, and so will refuse water in spite of being very thirsty.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.