agoraphobia

noun
ag·​o·​ra·​pho·​bia | \ ˌa-g(ə-)rə-ˈfō-bē-ə How to pronounce agoraphobia (audio) , ə-ˌgȯr-ə- \

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

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.

Examples of agoraphobia in a Sentence

a patient suffering from agoraphobia
Recent Examples on the Web Jackson has missed family weddings, birthdays and even funerals because of agoraphobia. David Begnaud, CBS News, 4 Apr. 2022 The dogs became her main companions, hunkering down with her at home as her reclusiveness veered into agoraphobia. Lauren Smiley, Wired, 8 Mar. 2022 Angela suffers from acute anxiety and agoraphobia following an assault, and thus never leaves her lavish Seattle apartment, which is technologically optimized for perpetual isolation. Vikram Murthi, The Week, 11 Feb. 2022 None of the usual diagnoses—depression, anxiety or agoraphobia—explained her withdrawal, which continued after medications stabilized her mood. Scientific American, 19 Jan. 2022 Most people with agoraphobia use avoidance as a way to prevent anxiety or panic attacks from happening outside of their safe spaces. Eleesha Lockett, SELF, 8 Nov. 2021 Because of this, agoraphobia can be as mild as avoiding a certain grocery store, or as severe as being completely unable to leave the home. Eleesha Lockett, SELF, 8 Nov. 2021 Her ability to interact with the world in those difficult days was limited by a type of agoraphobia. Simon Callow, The New York Review of Books, 22 Oct. 2020 Her ability to interact with the world in those difficult days was limited by a type of agoraphobia. Simon Callow, The New York Review of Books, 22 Oct. 2020 See More

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.

First Known Use of agoraphobia

circa 1871, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for agoraphobia

borrowed from German Agoraphobie, from Greek agorā-, combining form of agorá "place of assembly, agora entry 1" + German -phobie -phobia

Note: The term was 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.

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Time Traveler for agoraphobia

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The first known use of agoraphobia was circa 1871

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Dictionary Entries Near agoraphobia

agoraphobe

agoraphobia

agoraphobic

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Last Updated

11 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Agoraphobia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/agoraphobia. Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for agoraphobia

agoraphobia

noun
ag·​o·​ra·​pho·​bia | \ ˌag(-ə)-rə-ˈfō-bē-ə How to pronounce agoraphobia (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on agoraphobia

Nglish: Translation of agoraphobia for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about agoraphobia

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