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pho·​bia ˈfō-bē-ə How to pronounce phobia (audio)
: an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation


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noun combining form

: exaggerated fear of
: intolerance or aversion for

Examples of phobia in a Sentence

Noun His fear of crowds eventually developed into a phobia.
Recent Examples on the Web
Many people are scared of bats, and some people even have a complete phobia of them, called chiroptophobia. Ruth Cronin, The Enquirer, 5 June 2024 There’s no need to keep your phobia a secret and suffer in silence, Sawhne stresses. Angela Haupt, TIME, 22 May 2024 The studies in adults show short- and long-term reduction of symptoms, especially for patients with specific phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder. Bj Casey, Scientific American, 14 May 2024 Part of the reason for this phobia being so common is the rapid growth of the aviation industry. Olivia Morelli, Condé Nast Traveler, 26 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for phobia 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'phobia.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History




Noun combining form

New Latin, from Late Latin, from Greek, from -phobos fearing, from phobos fear, flight, from phebesthai to flee; akin to Lithuanian bėgti to flee, Old Church Slavonic běžati

First Known Use


1786, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of phobia was in 1786

Dictionary Entries Near phobia

Cite this Entry

“Phobia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


pho·​bia ˈfō-bē-ə How to pronounce phobia (audio)
: an unreasonable, abnormal, and lasting fear of something

Medical Definition


pho·​bia ˈfō-bē-ə How to pronounce phobia (audio)
: an exaggerated and often disabling fear usually inexplicable to the subject and having sometimes a logical but usually an illogical or symbolic object, class of objects, or situation compare compulsion, obsession
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