paranoia

noun
para·​noia | \ ˌper-ə-ˈnȯi-ə How to pronounce paranoia (audio) , ˌpa-rə- \

Definition of paranoia

1 : mental illness characterized by systematized delusions of persecution or grandeur usually without hallucinations Psychotic symptoms and paranoia persisted, and she continued to "find clues" of conspiracy against her.— Helen K. Delichatsios et al.
2 : a tendency on the part of an individual or group toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others The members of America's racist right inhabit a murky world of conspiracy, suspicion, and paranoia.— Wayne King

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Other Words from paranoia

paranoiac \ ˌper-​ə-​ˈnȯi-​ˌak How to pronounce paranoiac (audio) , -​ˈnȯi-​ik , ˌpa-​rə-​ \ or less commonly paranoic \ ˌper-​ə-​ˈnȯi(-​i)k How to pronounce paranoic (audio) , -​ˈnō-​ik , ˌpa-​rə-​ \ adjective or noun
paranoically \ ˌper-​ə-​ˈnȯi(-​i)-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce paranoically (audio) , -​ˈnō-​i-​k(ə-​)lē , ˌpa-​rə-​ \ adverb

Examples of paranoia in a Sentence

She was diagnosed with delusional paranoia. I had to admit that my fears were just paranoia.
Recent Examples on the Web Mistaken identities run rampant in this comedic farce as two reporters go undercover, spurring paranoia throughout the convent that spies have been sent from Rome to shut them down. Luann Gibbs, The Enquirer, "Top 5 things to do in Cincinnati this weekend: Oct. 23-25," 21 Oct. 2020 That anxiety runs deep, even if the historical data doesn't quite back up the paranoia. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "This year’s ‘October surprise’ could impact your portfolio for years to come," 11 Oct. 2020 Truth becomes meaningless, trust is foolishness, paranoia is strength, perception is a lie. Aj Willingham, CNN, "How the pandemic and politics gave us a golden age of conspiracy theories," 3 Oct. 2020 Plus, this feeds into a whole lot of mail paranoia that's been bubbling during election season. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "Amazon Just Dropped 15 New Devices, Including a Truly Crazy Security Camera," 25 Sep. 2020 In the modern era, scholars like Theodor Adorno and Richard Hofstadter have identified conspiracy beliefs and paranoia as central elements in political movements. Benedict Carey New York Times, Star Tribune, "Why we believe conspiracy theories," 8 Oct. 2020 Ghost tours capitalize on this hereditary paranoia by forcing the mind to wrestle with ambiguity. Jake Bittle, Popular Science, "Why do we see ghosts?," 6 Oct. 2020 Then there's the paranoia, the economic fallout, and the crushing mental weight of isolation. Aj Willingham, CNN, "How the pandemic and politics gave us a golden age of conspiracy theories," 3 Oct. 2020 The Cold War unleashed Senator Joseph McCarthy’s attacks on alleged subversives and left a legacy of demagoguery and paranoia. Stephen Wertheim, The New Yorker, "How Trump Brought Home the Endless War," 1 Oct. 2020

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

1887, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for paranoia

New Latin, from Greek, madness, from paranous demented, from para- + nous mind

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Time Traveler for paranoia

Time Traveler

The first known use of paranoia was in 1887

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Statistics for paranoia

Last Updated

28 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Paranoia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/paranoia. Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for paranoia

paranoia

noun
How to pronounce paranoia (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of paranoia

medical : a serious mental illness that causes you to falsely believe that other people are trying to harm you
: an unreasonable feeling that people are trying to harm you, do not like you, etc.

paranoia

noun
para·​noia | \ ˌpar-ə-ˈnȯi-ə How to pronounce paranoia (audio) \

Medical Definition of paranoia

1 : a psychosis characterized by systematized delusions of persecution or grandeur usually without hallucinations
2 : a tendency on the part of an individual or group toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others

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Comments on paranoia

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