View synonyms for hypochondriac


[ hahy-puh-kon-dree-ak ]


  1. Psychiatry.
    1. relating to, having, or experiencing hypochondria, an excessive preoccupation with or anxiety about one's health:

      This biography of the poet paints him as a hypochondriac depressive.

    2. produced by an excessive preoccupation with or anxiety about one's health:

      Hypochondriac feelings overwhelmed her.

  2. exhibiting excessive worry about one's health:

    Her hypochondriac roommate had been convinced that their apartment was killing them with black mold.

  3. Anatomy, Zoology. of or relating to the hypochondrium.


  1. Psychiatry. a person experiencing or subject to hypochondria.
  2. a person who worries or talks excessively about their health.


/ ˌhaɪpəˈkɒndrɪˌæk /


  1. a person suffering from hypochondria
“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


  1. relating to or suffering from hypochondria
  2. anatomy of or relating to the hypochondrium
“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


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

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Derived Forms

  • ˌhypochonˈdriacally, adverb
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Other Words From

  • hy·po·chon·dri·a·cal·ly adverb
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Word History and Origins

Origin of hypochondriac1

First recorded in 1570–80; from New Latin hypochondriacus, from Greek hypochondriakós “affected in the upper abdomen”; See hypochondria, -ac
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Example Sentences

AmazonNeither sitting nor standing for long periods of time are that great for your health, as your hypochondriac friend is likely fully aware.

AmazonBlack lights—those lights that emit ultraviolet light—can quickly become a favorite tool in the hands of the right hypochondriac.

Here’s a gift guide that all my fellow hypochondriacs will appreciate.

As a gadget writer, I know it’s fine, but as a hypochondriac, it hurt a little.

One of the storylines of that movie has hypochondriac Woody enduring a cancer scare.

He is a hypochondriac now and would keep a close watch on his heir's health and habits; you may be sure of that.

I've met him; he's a bad-tempered hypochondriac, a cynic at heart, and a man whose word is never doubted.

Many a hypochondriac had laughed immoderately at the ludicrous exercises of Crummles and the infant phenomenon!

Hypochondriacs of any sort are a nuisance both to themselves and other people, but none more so than the spiritual hypochondriac.

He chiefly complained of great straitness and pain in the hypochondriac region, very short breath, swelled legs, want of appetite.


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About This Word

What does hypochondriac mean?

Hypochondriac was once commonly used to refer to a person who constantly and excessively worries about their health, believing that they are or are about to become ill when there is really no reason to believe so.

The condition of constantly worrying in this way was once commonly known as hypochondria (or hypochondriasis).

However, mental health practitioners have largely stopped using the terms hypochondriac and hypochondria in favor of other terms due to such labels being seen as demeaning. People with the condition are now sometimes diagnosed with illness anxiety disorder. The chronic anxiety that the condition involves is often focused on particular ailments—such as heart or stomach pains—and may even be accompanied by physical symptoms.

It’s normal to wonder if you’re sick when you have a cough or a runny nose, but illness anxiety disorder is recognized as a mental disorder when such worrying becomes constant and excessive, especially when there are no symptoms. In these cases, the anxiety often disrupts a person’s daily life.

The words hypochondriac and hypochondria are still often used in a casual way outside of their use by medical and mental health professionals, such as in the context of a person who frequently becomes convinced that minor pains are a sign of a serious health problem. However, using the words in this way can be insensitive and offensive.

Hypochondriac can also be used as an adjective describing things that involve hypochondria, as in hypochondriac tendencies. A less common variant of the adjective is hypochondriacal. These terms are also avoided by mental health professionals and can be considered insensitive in casual use.

Example: Labeling patients as hypochondriacs only stigmatized them—it didn’t do anything to help their underlying anxiety.

Where does hypochondriac come from?

The first records of the word hypochondriac come from around the early 1600s, with hypochondria first being recorded in the mid-1500s. The terms ultimately come from the Greek hypokhondria, meaning “under the cartilage (of the upper abdomen).”

Early senses of the words hypochondria and hypochondriac were used in reference to the medieval notion that people’s personalities are based on the balance of four different types of elemental fluids in their body, called humors. An excess of one the so-called humors, black bile, was thought to cause a person to be in a state of gloominess and depression known as melancholy. This melancholy was thought to be seated in the upper abdomen. (The related term hypochondrium is still used in anatomy to refer to one of two regions in the abdomen.)

Eventually, hypochondria came to refer to a condition involving frequent complaints about stomach pains and then to the condition of believing that you have illnesses that you don’t actually have.

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What are some other forms related to hypochondriac?

What are some synonyms for hypochondriac?

  • hypochondriacal

What are some words that share a root or word element with hypochondriac

What are some words that often get used in discussing hypochondriac?