hy·​dro·​pho·​bia | \ ˌhī-drə-ˈfō-bē-ə How to pronounce hydrophobia (audio) \

Definition of hydrophobia

1 : rabies
2 : a morbid dread of water

Examples of hydrophobia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Later symptoms include trouble swallowing, fear of water (hydrophobia), paralysis, seizure, coma, and eventual death. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "Rabies cases double in Oakland County's wildlife; officials warn, 'Stay away!'," 8 Sep. 2018 At that point, a person can show symptoms like confusion, abnormal behavior, hallucinations, insomnia, drooling, difficulty swallowing and hydrophobia, fear of water. Minali Nigam, CNN, "Most rabies infections in the United States come from bats, CDC says," 12 June 2019 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.

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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

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Time Traveler for hydrophobia

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The first known use of hydrophobia was in 1547

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Cite this Entry

“Hydrophobia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hydrophobia. Accessed 4 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for hydrophobia


hy·​dro·​pho·​bia | \ ˌhī-drə-ˈfō-bē-ə How to pronounce hydrophobia (audio) \

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

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