claus·​tro·​pho·​bia | \ ˌklȯ-strə-ˈfō-bē-ə How to pronounce claustrophobia (audio) \

Definition of claustrophobia

1 : abnormal dread of being in closed or narrow spaces
2 : a feeling of discomfort or discontent caused by being in a limiting or restrictive situation or environment While recovering in the hospital, she recognizes the claustrophobia of her working-class life, shared with a suffocatingly affectionate mother and a dud of a dad.— Barbara Tritel

Other Words from claustrophobia

claustrophobe \ ˈklȯ-​strə-​ˌfōb How to pronounce claustrophobia (audio) \ noun

Examples of claustrophobia in a Sentence

She doesn't go in elevators because of her claustrophobia. the claustrophobia of small-town life
Recent Examples on the Web According to Gallup, in 2019, 65 percent of American adults drank alcohol; in 2021, even after the claustrophobia and worry of the plague years, that number went down to 60 percent. Virginia Heffernan, Wired, 19 Apr. 2022 Before long, Val has confronted both her fear of flying and her claustrophobia — trapped in close quarters with the girl, Speeks, a taciturn mechanic and two polar marine scientists. Paula L. Woods, Los Angeles Times, 9 Mar. 2022 Like many projects released after March 2020, Dawn FM is a foil to the claustrophobia many are feeling. Waiss David Aramesh, Rolling Stone, 28 Feb. 2022 Mira takes comfort from nestling close to him, but their cohabitation is claustrophobia-inducing, to the reader as well as to her. Judith Shulevitz, The Atlantic, 10 Feb. 2022 In this book's open-road and rural adventures, his claustrophobia is less an issue, allowing Ash to concentrate more fully on surviving a formidable opponent. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 13 Jan. 2022 At the very least an adaptation of Around the World in 80 Days should be beautiful to look at, but there’s a peculiar claustrophobia to the mixture of generic locations and CG backdrops here. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 31 Dec. 2021 Diana sees visions of not only memories of herself, but also Anne Boleyn as the claustrophobia of her situation takes hold. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 2 Nov. 2021 The claustrophobia of pandemic life led Californians to flee the urban sprawl. Alejandra Reyes-velarde Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 15 Oct. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of claustrophobia

1879, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for claustrophobia

New Latin, from Latin claustrum + New Latin -phobia

Learn More About claustrophobia

Time Traveler for claustrophobia

Time Traveler

The first known use of claustrophobia was in 1879

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near claustrophobia




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for claustrophobia

Last Updated

27 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Claustrophobia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for claustrophobia


claus·​tro·​pho·​bia | \ ˌklȯ-strə-ˈfō-bē-ə How to pronounce claustrophobia (audio) \

Medical Definition of claustrophobia

: abnormal dread of being in closed or narrow spaces

More from Merriam-Webster on claustrophobia

Nglish: Translation of claustrophobia for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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