- a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it.
Origin of phobia
SynonymsSee more synonyms for phobia on Thesaurus.com
- a combining form meaning “fear,” occurring in loanwords from Greek (hydrophobia); on this model, used in the names of mental disorders that have the general sense “dread of, aversion toward” that specified by the initial element: agoraphobia.
Origin of -phobia
Examples from the Web for phobia
The idea of “research” settings in our popular culture tap into this phobia.Why Smart People Are Dumb Patients
July 14, 2014
Contemporary society has gifted us with a phobia potentially as strong as acrophobia or the fear of flying: smartphone anxiety.Do You Suffer From Smartphone Anxiety? (And if So, What the Hell’s Your Problem?)
April 30, 2014
Lloyd Grove talks to Toomey about Joe Sestak, his New York phobia—and Rand Paul.The Man Who Scared Specter
May 21, 2010
The guy who took the cake suffered from a Vagina Dentata phobia, with attendant castration anxiety.HONOR THIS!
February 3, 2014
In cities the choice of animals which can become the object of phobia is not great.Totem and Taboo
He ran away years ago and she's gotten a phobia about people.Gargoyles
The phobia is thrown before the anxiety like a fortress on the frontier.Dream Psychology
The phobia had been further complicated by the traumatic qualities of his experience in the Dream Shop.The Status Civilization
If I'd known anything about Pietro's expedition, I'd have wrapped myself in my phobia and loved it.Let'em Breathe Space
Lester del Rey
- psychiatry an abnormal intense and irrational fear of a given situation, organism, or object
- indicating an extreme abnormal fear of or aversion toacrophobia; claustrophobia
Word Origin and History for phobia
"irrational fear, horror, aversion," 1786, perhaps on model of similar use in French, abstracted from compounds in -phobia, from Greek -phobia, from phobos "fear, panic fear, terror, outward show of fear; object of fear or terror," originally "flight" (still the only sense in Homer), but it became the common word for "fear" via the notion of "panic, fright" (cf. phobein "put to flight, frighten"), from PIE root *bhegw- "to run" (cf. Lithuanian begu "to flee;" Old Church Slavonic begu "flight," bezati "to flee, run;" Old Norse bekkr "a stream"). Psychological sense attested by 1895.
word-forming element meaning "excessive or irrational fear of," from Latin -phobia and directly from Greek -phobia "panic fear of," from phobos "fear" (see phobia). In widespread popular use with native words from c.1800. Related: -phobic.
- A persistent, abnormal, or irrational fear of a specific thing or situation that compels one to avoid the feared stimulus.
- A strong fear, dislike, or aversion.
- An intense, abnormal, or illogical fear of a specified thing:claustrophobia.
An extreme and often unreasonable fear of some object, concept, situation, or person.