hy·dro·pho·bia | \ˌhī-drə-ˈfō-bē-ə \

Definition of hydrophobia 

1 : rabies

2 : a morbid dread of water

Examples of hydrophobia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Over time, symptoms that are more specific to brain dysfunction appear and may include difficulty sleeping, anxiety, confusion, hallucinations, agitation, partial paralysis, difficulty swallowing, and hydrophobia, a fear of water. Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan health officials see uptick in bats with rabies," 3 July 2018

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

First Known Use of hydrophobia

1547, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for hydrophobia

Late Latin, from Greek, from hydr- + -phobia -phobia

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hydrophobia

Share hydrophobia

Statistics for hydrophobia

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hydrophobia

The first known use of hydrophobia was in 1547

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for hydrophobia


hy·dro·pho·bia | \ˌhī-drə-ˈfō-bē-ə \

Medical Definition of hydrophobia 

1 : a morbid dread of water

2a : extreme fearfulness of swallowing liquids that is symptomatic of rabies and results from painful spasms of the throat In classic cases, there is a fear of drinking liquids, or hydrophobia, despite thirst due to spasm of the throat muscles.— Lawrence K. Altman, The New York Times, 24 Aug. 1993

b : rabies Rabies victims at first feel a general malaise and restlessness, then grow increasingly agitated with painful spasms of the throat. … Soon they cannot drink, which is why rabies has been called “hydrophobia.”— Wayne Biddle, A Field Guide to Germs, 1995

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on hydrophobia

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


lying above or upon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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