agoraphobia

noun ag·o·ra·pho·bia \ ˌa-g(ə-)rə-ˈfō-bē-ə , ə-ˌgȯr-ə- \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of agoraphobia

: abnormal fear of being helpless in a situation from which escape may be difficult or embarrassing that is characterized initially often by panic or anticipatory anxiety and finally by the avoidance of open or public places

agoraphobe

play \ˈa-g(ə-)rə-ˌfōb, ə-ˈgȯr-ə-\ noun

agoraphobic

play \ˌa-g(ə-)rə-ˈfō-bik, ə-ˌgȯr-ə-\ adjective or noun

Examples of agoraphobia in a Sentence

  1. a patient suffering from agoraphobia

Recent Examples of agoraphobia from the Web

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

Did You Know?

The agora was the marketplace in ancient Greece; thus, agoraphobia often involves fear of public places and crowds. But it also may involve fear of being in shops, or even fear of being in open spaces, or fear of traveling alone. It may also be a fear of experiencing some uncontrollable or embarrassing event (like fainting) in the presence of others with no help available. Agoraphobia can be hard to understand for those who don't suffer from it, especially because it can take so many different forms, but it is often a serious and socially crippling condition.

Origin and Etymology of agoraphobia

borrowed from German Agoraphobie, from Greek agorā-, combining form of agorá "place of assembly, 1agora" + German -phobie -phobia
Note: Term introduced by the German neurologist and psychiatrist Carl Friedrich Otto Westphal (1833-90) in "Die Agoraphobie, eine neuropathische Erscheinung," Archiv für Psychiatrie und Nervenkrankheiten, Band 3, Heft 1 (1871), pp. 138-161. Westphal gives as his vernacular equivalent Platzfurcht.


AGORAPHOBIA Defined for English Language Learners

agoraphobia

noun

Definition of agoraphobia for English Language Learners

  • : a fear of being in open or public places


Medical Dictionary

agoraphobia

noun ag·o·ra·pho·bia \ ˌag(-ə)-rə-ˈfō-bē-ə \

medical Definition of agoraphobia

: abnormal fear of being helpless in a situation from which escape may be difficult or embarrassing that is characterized initially often by panic or anticipatory anxiety and finally by avoidance of open or public places


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