hy·​po·​chon·​dria | \ ˌhī-pə-ˈkän-drē-ə How to pronounce hypochondria (audio) \

Definition of hypochondria

: extreme depression of mind or spirits often centered on imaginary physical ailments specifically : hypochondriasis

Examples of hypochondria in a Sentence

She fueled her hypochondria by reading articles about rare diseases.
Recent Examples on the Web In Hippocrates’ Aphorisms, hypochondria referred to the soft part of the body below the ribs. Alyson Pomerantz, Longreads, "Anaphylaxis of the Mind," 3 Sep. 2019 Affected children may have sleep disorders, school problems ranging from avoidance and absence to underachievement, discipline problems, and hypochondria. Rachel Pearson, The New Yorker, "The Durable Feeling That a Child Is Always at Risk," 10 June 2019 In 2001 Ellroy suffered episodes of sleeplessness and hypochondria and, eventually, a nervous breakdown. The Economist, "James Ellroy finally has happiness in his sights," 8 June 2019 This was certainly the case with my battle against hypochondria. Liv Boeree, Vox, "How an 18th-century priest gave us the tools to make better decisions," 30 Nov. 2018 The current psychiatric diagnostic manual has abandoned hypochondria as a disorder, replacing it in 2013 with two new concepts: somatic symptom disorder and illness anxiety disorder. New York Times, "A New Approach to Treating Hypochondria," 18 June 2018 Speaking of feigning sickness, taper week is prime time for runner hypochondria. Martin Fritz Huber, Outside Online, "Race Week Anxiety? You're Not Alone," 12 Apr. 2018 Bethlehem Steel ceased to exist in 2003, but 36 years is a long time in the life of a nation whose recuperative powers are as notable as its hypochondria. George Will, National Review, "Charlie Dent’s Departure Makes Allentown Vulnerable to Democrats," 6 Jan. 2018 Remaining in this state of wary hypervigilance can contribute to issues like social anxiety, hypochondria, post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia and all manner of phobias. Kate Murphy, New York Times, "Outsmarting Our Primitive Responses to Fear," 26 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hypochondria.' 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 hypochondria

1671, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hypochondria

earlier, "organs of the upper abdomen behind the ribs (including the liver and gallbladder, thought to be the seat of melancholy)," borrowed from Late Latin, borrowed from Greek hypochóndria, plural of hypochóndrion (referring to either the left or right side of these organs), noun derivative from neuter of hypochóndrios "located beneath the cartilage (connecting the ribs and sternum)," from hypo- hypo- + -chondrios, adjective derivative of chóndros "gristle, cartilage" — more at chondro-

Note: Earlier also in the Anglicized form hypochondry, hypocondry, usually in the plural hypocondries, as in the following passage from Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy (Oxford, 1621), p. 25: "The third Region is the lower Belly in which the liuer resides…with the rest of those naturall Organes, seruing for concoction, nourishment, expelling of excrements. This lower Region is distinguished from the vpper by the Midriffe, or Diaphragma, and is subdiuided againe by some into three concauities, or regions, vpper, middle, and lower. The upper of the Hypocondries, in whose right side is the Liuer, the left the Spleene. From which is denominated Hypocondriacall Melancholy."

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The first known use of hypochondria was in 1671

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Cite this Entry

“Hypochondria.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypochondria. Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce hypochondria (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of hypochondria

: unusual or excessive concern about your health : a tendency to fear or imagine that you have illnesses that you do not actually have


hy·​po·​chon·​dria | \ ˌhī-pə-ˈkän-drē-ə How to pronounce hypochondria (audio) \

Medical Definition of hypochondria

: extreme depression of mind or spirits often centered on imaginary physical ailments specifically : hypochondriasis

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