neurotic

adjective
neu·​rot·​ic | \ nu̇-ˈrä-tik How to pronounce neurotic (audio) , nyu̇- \

Essential Meaning of neurotic

1 medical : having or suggesting neurosis The psychiatrist diagnosed the patient as neurotic. neurotic symptoms
2 : often or always fearful or worried about something : tending to worry in a way that is not healthy or reasonable My neurotic mother scolded me for staying out 10 minutes past curfew. He is neurotic about his job. a neurotic personality

Full Definition of neurotic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of, relating to, constituting, or affected with neurosis (see neurosis)

neurotic

noun
neu·​rot·​ic | \ nu̇-ˈrä-tik How to pronounce neurotic (audio) , nyu̇- \

Definition of neurotic (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : one affected with a neurosis (see neurosis)
2 : an emotionally unstable individual

Other Words from neurotic

Adjective

neurotically \ nu̇-​ˈrä-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce neurotic (audio) , nyu̇-​ \ adverb

Examples of neurotic in a Sentence

Adjective This most fastidious of pianists sounds anything but neurotic when he plays Mozart. — Richard Coles, Times Literary Supplement, 15 Nov. 2002 Maybe it's because novelists don't talk much about each other. Maybe this is because novelists secrete a certain BO which only other novelists detect, like certain buzzards who emit a repellent pheromone detectable only by other buzzards, which is to say that only a novelist can know how neurotic, devious, underhanded a novelist can be. — Walker Percy, "An Interview With Zoltán Abádi-Nagy," 1987, in Signposts in a Strange Land1991 In our own time, the most perfect examples of such biography … are the matchless case-histories of Freud. Freud here shows, with absolute clarity, that the on-going nature of neurotic illness and its treatment cannot be displayed except by biography. — Oliver Sacks, Awakenings, (1973) 1990 The psychiatrist diagnosed the patient as neurotic. My neurotic mother scolded me for staying out 10 minutes past curfew. He is neurotic about his job. Noun More than any rebirth, one senses in the England of 1911 a civilization's unconscious death wish, vividly present in the author's glimpses of the poet Rupert Brooke, that squeaky-clean neurotic, a casualty waiting to happen. — Thomas Mallon, New York Times Book Review, 27 May 2007 As a claustrophobe—perhaps the only kind of neurotic out of place in New York—I find nothing in the city more terrifying than a stalled subway car. — John Tierney, New York Times Magazine, 19 Mar. 1995 You are too much something for a tubercular neurotic who can only be jealous and mean and perverse. — F. Scott Fitzgerald, letter, 2 Dec. 1939 He was diagnosed as a neurotic. He is a neurotic about keeping his clothes neat.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Albert Brooks directs and stars as a neurotic Hollywood film editor in this cringe-inducing 1981 anti-romantic comedy. Los Angeles Times, 16 Dec. 2021 Follies, a devoted eulogy for the bygone days of musical theater that confronts the absurdity of its characters’ dreams in show business, was even darker and more neurotic. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, 30 Nov. 2021 The gregarious, neurotic Sasha has done the inviting, but the bulk of the housekeeping duties will fall on his not always forbearing wife, Masha. Washington Post, 2 Nov. 2021 Even at the dinner table, the clones mirror one another, synchronizing their every gesture with neurotic precision. Julian Lucas, The New Yorker, 1 Nov. 2021 Johnny, Margot’s chill and supportive GBF who actually pays attention to Allison; Dylan, the classic neurotic introvert and Allison’s crush; and Riley, Dylan’s friend who deals drugs. Ben Rosenstock, Vulture, 15 Oct. 2021 That is why Western ruling establishments are so neurotic about any dissent from the Paris script, let alone any more profound disagreement over what is happening to the climate. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, 6 Nov. 2021 Brown, in her snappish mode, is wonderfully entertaining, and Ireland brings a sparkly, neurotic wit to the weakest material. New York Times, 3 Nov. 2021 Sondheim, one of the greatest and most important composers in the history of American musical theater, is Jewish… and what’s more Jewish than a show about neurotic New Yorkers? Linda Buchwald, sun-sentinel.com, 27 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Kruger has the moxie to play Marie as a standoffish neurotic, Nyong’o creates an unusually emotional hacker, and Cruz, as the one who’s more devoted to her family than to global realpolitik, proves the sweetest of wild cards. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 6 Jan. 2022 Seinfeld, which stars Jerry Seinfeld as a fictionalized version of himself, pokes fun at neurotics like Seinfeld and his friends, who overthink and worry about too many little things. Nina Huang, EW.com, 1 May 2020 Learn about the connection between neurotics and Brexit. Lacy Schley, Discover Magazine, 15 June 2018 But economy-class neurotics will have to make do while their shrink answers emails or knits cardigans during their sessions. Joe Queenan, WSJ, 11 May 2018

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

Adjective

1866, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1896, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for neurotic

Adjective

neur(osis) + -otic entry 1

Noun

derivative of neurotic entry 1

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Time Traveler for neurotic

Time Traveler

The first known use of neurotic was in 1866

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Dictionary Entries Near neurotic

neurosurgery

neurotic

neuroticism

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Statistics for neurotic

Last Updated

24 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Neurotic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/neurotic. Accessed 16 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for neurotic

neurotic

adjective
neu·​rot·​ic | \ n(y)u̇-ˈrät-ik How to pronounce neurotic (audio) \

Medical Definition of neurotic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of, relating to, or involving the nerves a neurotic disorder
b : being a neurosis : nervous a neurotic disease
2 : affected with, relating to, or characterized by neurosis a neurotic person

Other Words from neurotic

neurotically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce neurotic (audio) \ adverb

neurotic

noun

Medical Definition of neurotic (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : one affected with a neurosis
2 : an emotionally unstable individual

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