phobia

noun
pho·​bia | \ ˈfō-bē-ə How to pronounce phobia (audio) \

Definition of phobia

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation

Definition of -phobia (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : exaggerated fear of acrophobia
2 : intolerance or aversion for photophobia

Examples of phobia in a Sentence

Noun

His fear of crowds eventually developed into a phobia.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

To those of us who would like our language to be a bit more concise than a dog’s bark, a phobia is an irrational fear. James Lileks, National Review, "Girth Dearth," 11 July 2019 For some animals, who may have a noise phobia or have exhibited signs of stress with loud sounds in the past, more aggressive calming techniques may be necessary. Tanya Edwards, BostonGlobe.com, "Here’s how to keep your pets from freaking out during summer fireworks," 26 June 2019 Many of the most common phobias, from flying to heights, come out when people travel. Alyson Krueger, Condé Nast Traveler, "How to Tackle the Most Common Travel Fears," 6 June 2019 The poor child who picked Scotland out was then accosted by the presiding FIFA officials and ordered to return the ball the cages, no doubt triggering an acute phobia of miniature footballs for the rest of his life. SI.com, "Morrisons, Donald Trump & a Boozy Rod Stewart: 8 of the Strangest Cup Draws of All Time," 21 June 2019 You can be scared of flying without actually having a phobia. Jessica Toscano, SELF, "How to Finally Overcome Your Fear of Flying," 31 Jan. 2019 The National Institute of Mental Health has found that 6.5 percent of Americans have a phobia that prevents them from flying. Elaine Glusac, New York Times, "18 Ways to Navigate Stress at the Airport," 27 June 2018 Fears don’t get much more false than today’s rising-rate phobia. Ken Fisher, USA TODAY, "Investors: Why you shouldn't worry that rates will rise," 10 June 2018 Having a phobia, which is considered a type of anxiety, can sometimes relate back to a specific traumatic incident. Ilana Strauss, SELF, "I Was Terrified of Falling, So I Tried Parkour," 9 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'phobia.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of phobia

Noun

1786, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for phobia

Noun

-phobia

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about phobia

Dictionary Entries near phobia

pho

phob-

-phobe

phobia

-phobia

-phobic

phobic

Statistics for phobia

Last Updated

17 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for phobia

The first known use of phobia was in 1786

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for phobia

phobia

noun

English Language Learners Definition of phobia

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an extremely strong dislike or fear of someone or something

English Language Learners Definition of -phobia (Entry 2 of 2)

: an extremely strong dislike or fear of someone or something

phobia

noun
pho·​bia | \ ˈfō-bē-ə How to pronounce phobia (audio) \

Kids Definition of phobia

: an unreasonable, abnormal, and lasting fear of something

phobia

noun
pho·​bia | \ ˈfō-bē-ə How to pronounce phobia (audio) \

Medical Definition of phobia

: 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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on phobia

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with phobia

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for phobia

Spanish Central: Translation of phobia

Nglish: Translation of phobia for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of phobia for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about phobia

Comments on phobia

What made you want to look up phobia? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

food or victuals

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!