[ par-uh-noi-uh ]
/ ˌpær əˈnɔɪ ə /


Psychiatry. a mental disorder characterized by systematized delusions and the projection of personal conflicts, which are ascribed to the supposed hostility of others, sometimes progressing to disturbances of consciousness and aggressive acts believed to be performed in self-defense or as a mission.
baseless or excessive suspicion of the motives of others.
Also par·a·noe·a [par-uh-nee-uh] /ˌpær əˈni ə/.

Origin of paranoia

1805–15; < New Latin < Greek paránoia madness. See para-1, nous, -ia Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for paranoia

British Dictionary definitions for paranoia


/ (ˌpærəˈnɔɪə) /


a form of schizophrenia characterized by a slowly progressive deterioration of the personality, involving delusions and often hallucinations
a mental disorder characterized by any of several types of delusions, in which the personality otherwise remains relatively intact
informal intense fear or suspicion, esp when unfounded

Derived Forms

paranoiac (ˌpærəˈnɔɪɪk) or paranoic (ˌpærəˈnəʊɪk), adjective, noun

Word Origin for paranoia

C19: via New Latin from Greek: frenzy, from paranoos distraught, from para- 1 + noos mind
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

Medicine definitions for paranoia


[ păr′ə-noiə ]


A psychotic disorder characterized by systematized delusions, especially of persecution or grandeur, in the absence of other personality disorders.
Extreme, irrational distrust of others.

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

Culture definitions for paranoia


[ (par-uh-noy-uh) ]

A form of psychosis marked by delusions of persecution and of grandeur. One who suffers from paranoia is paranoid.


In popular terminology, a “paranoid” personality is characterized by suspicion and distrust of others; a tendency to look for hidden meaning behind other people's actions; argumentativeness; complaining; low tolerance for criticism; and a constant display of one's own talents, accomplishments, independence, and rationality.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.