- 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.
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WATCH NOW: Where Did The Term "Hypochondriac" Come From?
It wasn’t until the 19th century that hypochondriac described someone who suffered “illness without a specific cause.” So what did it originally mean?
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Origin of hypochondriac
historical usage 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The upper abdomen, it turns out, was thought to be the seat of melancholy at a time when the now-outdated medical theory of the four humors (blood, phlegm, yellow bile [choler], and black bile [melancholy]) was accepted as a basis for legitimate health practice.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.
popular references for hypochondriac
— 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.
OTHER WORDS FROM hypochondriachy·po·chon·dri·a·cal·ly, adverb
Words nearby hypochondriac
Example sentences from the Web for 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|Dave Bry|April 3, 2013|DAILY BEAST
We have already seen how the sphere of the hypochondriac is narrowed.Why Worry?|George Lincoln Walton, M.D.
His gloom was not that of the hypochondriac, but the legitimate gloom which has its origin in a syllogism.Desperate Remedies|Thomas Hardy
The pill eater is a hypochondriac, and very likely his doctor knows it.Think|Col. Wm. C. Hunter
But only those rich enough to be hypochondriac can afford such luxuries.Literary Tours in The Highlands and Islands of Scotland|Daniel Turner Holmes
It wanted vitality; and every person that breathed it partook of its own damp, hypochondriac, inanimate character.
British Dictionary definitions for hypochondriac
adjective Also: hypochondriacal (ˌhaɪpəkɒnˈdraɪəkəl)
Derived forms of hypochondriachypochondriacally, adverb
Medical definitions for hypochondriac
Other words from hypochondriachy′po•chon•dri′a•cal (-kŏn-drī′ə-kəl) adj.
Cultural definitions for hypochondriac
A person who constantly believes he or she is ill or about to become ill.