hypochondria

noun

hy·​po·​chon·​dria ˌhī-pə-ˈkän-drē-ə How to pronounce hypochondria (audio)
: excessive concern about one's health especially when accompanied by imagined physical ailments
But we all have just a touch of hypochondria. Who can read the symptoms of bubonic plague and not cry, "Hey, that sounds like what I've got."Bob Swift
specifically : illness anxiety disorder
Hypochondria involves persistent, unfounded fears about having a serious disease. It affects about 5 percent of patients who seek help from primary-care doctors. The Associated Press

Examples of hypochondria in a Sentence

She fueled her hypochondria by reading articles about rare diseases.
Recent Examples on the Web She’s got your backs, opening with the moment her own lifelong, free-range hypochondria probably began — when a sweet high school classmate suddenly died of Hodgkin’s disease. Joan Frank, BostonGlobe.com, 11 May 2023 Early on, many doctors, predictably, dismissed these cases as the result of anxiety or hypochondria. Meghan O'Rourke, The Atlantic, 8 Mar. 2021 The former is a consequence of my hypochondria and its associated germophobia. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 5 Jan. 2011 Tindaro’s perfect pedigree as an eligible bachelor is undermined by his insufferable attitude, rampant hypochondria, and blunt disdain for women. Breanna Bell, Variety, 14 Dec. 2022 And Dostoyevsky, with the infernal reveler ejected, is relieved that second of his hemorrhoids, his gambling habit, his seizures, his fevers, his depression, his hypochondria, his appalling futuristic intuitions and obsessions. James Parker, The Atlantic, 19 Oct. 2021 To suggest otherwise is nothing short of political hypochondria. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, 12 Aug. 2021 These Sutter pop-up clinics are for urgent care, meaning an ailment that lies somewhere between hypochondria and the emergency room. Sam Whiting, SFChronicle.com, 18 Apr. 2020 Refinery29 spoke to a young woman whose hypochondria has spiralled since the news broke that coronavirus had hit the UK. Jessica Morgan, refinery29.com, 10 Mar. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hypochondria.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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."

First Known Use

1700, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hypochondria was in 1700

Dictionary Entries Near hypochondria

Cite this Entry

“Hypochondria.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypochondria. Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

hypochondria

noun
hy·​po·​chon·​dria ˌhī-pə-ˈkän-drē-ə How to pronounce hypochondria (audio)
: an abnormal concern about one's health especially when accompanied by a false belief that one has a physical disease or ailment

Medical Definition

hypochondria

noun
hy·​po·​chon·​dria ˌhī-pə-ˈkän-drē-ə How to pronounce hypochondria (audio)
: excessive concern about one's health especially when accompanied by imagined physical ailments
specifically : illness anxiety disorder
Hypochondria involves persistent, unfounded fears about having a serious disease. It affects about 5 percent of patients who seek help from primary-care doctors. The Associated Press
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