Origin and Etymology of hydrophobia
Late Latin, from Greek, from hydr- + -phobia -phobia
First Known Use: 1547
Medical Definition of hydrophobia
1: a morbid dread of water
2a: extreme fearfulness of swallowing liquids that is symptomatic of rabies and results from painful spasms of the throat <In classic cases, there is a fear of drinking liquids, or hydrophobia, despite thirst due to spasm of the throat muscles.—Lawrence K. Altman, The New York Times, 24 Aug. 1993>b: rabies <Rabies victims at first feel a general malaise and restlessness, then grow increasingly agitated with painful spasms of the throat. … Soon they cannot drink, which is why rabies has been called “hydrophobia.”—Wayne Biddle, A Field Guide to Germs, 1995>
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