[ par-uh-noid ]
/ ˈpær əˌnɔɪd /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: paranoid / paranoids on Thesaurus.com

of, like, or experiencing paranoia.
a person with paranoia.
Apostrophes can be tricky; prove you know the difference between "it’s" and "its" in this crafty quiz!
Question 1 of 8
On the farm, the feed for chicks is significantly different from the roosters’; ______ not even comparable.
Also par·a·noi·ac; Archaic, par·a·noe·ac [par-uh-noi-ak, -ik] /ˌpær əˈnɔɪ æk, -ɪk/ .

Origin of paranoid

First recorded in 1900–05; paranoi(a) + -oid, with base and suffix merged, perhaps by shortening of the expected but unrecorded paranoioid
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does paranoid mean?

Paranoid is an adjective used to describe someone who has the mental disorder paranoia, which is characterized by delusions and feelings of extreme distrust, suspicion, and being targeted by others. Such thoughts and actions can also be described as paranoid.

Paranoid is also commonly used more generally to mean overly suspicious or irrationally distrustful of others. It’s important to understand that while paranoid is used generally outside of its psychiatric usage in a way that makes it seem less serious, being paranoid is a major symptom of disorders like paranoid schizophrenia and paranoid personality disorder.

Example: Just because I lock my doors at night doesn’t mean I’m being paranoid—it just means I’m being cautious.

Where does paranoid come from?

The first records of paranoid come from the early 1900s from the context of psychology. Records of its use in a more general way come from around the 1950s. It is based on paranoia, which is recorded earlier and derives from the Greek paránoia, meaning “madness.” Paranoia is formed from para, meaning “abnormal” or “defective,” and nous, meaning “mind.”

Most people understand the concept of what it means for someone to be paranoid: their fear is heightened, they sense danger everywhere, and they feel like everyone is conspiring against them. While most people may have had similar feelings at one time or another, people who have been diagnosed with paranoia, such as paranoid personality disorder and paranoid schizophrenia, experience them to an extreme degree, sometimes in the form of delusions. Such delusions often focus on what’s perceived as constant persecution from others. Still, paranoid is very commonly used in a more general way to describe such thoughts or people who act in an overly distrusting or suspicious way. In this way, it is almost always used negatively as a criticism of someone.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to paranoid?

  • paranoia (noun)
  • paranoiac (noun, adjective)
  • paranoeac (noun, adjective)

What are some synonyms for paranoid?

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



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

How is paranoid used in real life?

Paranoid is a formal psychiatric term, but it is commonly used in a more general or casual way to describe certain feelings, behaviors, or personalities.



Try using paranoid!

A person or behavior described as paranoid is most likely characterized by which of the following things?

A. distrust
B. suspicion
C. feelings of being targeted
D. all of the above

How to use paranoid in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for paranoid

/ (ˈpærəˌnɔɪd) /

of, characterized by, or resembling paranoia
informal exhibiting undue suspicion, fear of persecution, etc
a person who shows the behaviour patterns associated with paranoia
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

Medical definitions for paranoid

[ părə-noid′ ]

Relating to, characteristic of, or affected with paranoia.
One affected with paranoia.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.