- pertaining to or suffering from hypochondria, an excessive preoccupation with and worry about one's health: The comedy is aimed at the hypochondriac demographic.
- produced by hypochondria: Hypochondriac feelings overwhelmed her.
Origin of hypochondriac
The upper abdomen, it turns out, was thought to be the seat of melancholy at a time when the now-outdated medical theory of the four humors (blood, phlegm, yellow bile [choler], and black bile [melancholy]) was accepted as a basis for legitimate health practice. In the 17th century, hypochondriac referred to people who suffered from “depression and melancholy without cause,” though we might suppose from the name of this malady that many depressed patients complained of abdominal pains, which otherwise went undiagnosed. “Vapors,” another archaic disorder connected to the upper abdomen, was used as a euphemism for PMS in a time when such things were not discussed in polite conversation. Because doctors were male at this time, “women’s problems” were largely written off as fits of hysteria (another obsolete medical term of Greek origin, from the word for womb ).
It wasn’t until the 19th century that hypochondriac described someone who suffered “illness without a specific cause.” This sense is still widely used, though today we diagnose modern hypochondriacs by their overuse of the website WebMD.
— The Hypochondriac: Molière’s last play, first performed in 1673. During the play’s fourth performance, Molière passed out on stage and died a few days later.
- "The uncomfortable feelings of the hypochondriac are excessively magnified by his fears and the concentration of his thoughts and attention to his disease."-Dr. Prichard edited by Sir John Forbes, Alexander Tweedie, John Conolly Hypochondriasis The Cyclopaedia of Practical Medicine: Comprising Treatises On the Nature and Treatment of Diseases, Materia Medica and Therapeutics, Medical Jurisprudence, Etc., Etc., Volume 2 (1833)
- "Aziz’s mother, a notorious hypochondriac, complained at length about her latest bout of indigestion."-Laila Lalami Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits (2005)
Related Words for hypochondriacvaletudinarian
Examples from the Web for hypochondriac
Contemporary Examples of hypochondriac
One of the storylines of that movie has hypochondriac Woody enduring a cancer scare.Speak, Faulty Memory: Why Memoir Writing Is Harder Than You Think
April 3, 2013
Historical Examples of hypochondriac
"And you set me down as a hypochondriac, then," said Upton, smiling.The Fortunes Of Glencore
Charles James Lever
He was as awkward, as hypochondriac, as literal, as strict as ever.The Long Roll
The pill eater is a hypochondriac and very likely his doctor knows it.Evening Round Up
William Crosbie Hunter
“You always were a bit of a hypochondriac,” observed his friend.The Untouchable
Stephen A. Kallis
Now he is joyous to the point of folly, anon gloomy as a hypochondriac.The Memoirs of Victor Hugo
adjective Also: hypochondriacal (ˌhaɪpəkɒnˈdraɪəkəl)
1590s, "pertaining to the hypochondria," also "afflicted with melancholy," from French hypocondriaque (16c.), from Medieval Latin hypochondriacus, from Greek hypokhondriakos "pertaining to the upper abdomen," from hypokhondria (see hypochondria). The noun is from 1630s, "melancholy person;" in the modern sense from 1888.
A person who constantly believes he or she is ill or about to become ill.