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

Set in deep space, the TV Nightflyers follows a disparate band of colonists who are fleeing a dying Earth and are driven to paranoia and madness by some mysterious entity. Noel Murray, The Verge, "Before Game of Thrones and Nightflyers, George R.R. Martin’s work inspired a great Outer Limits episode," 30 Nov. 2018 Crawford has a history of paranoia and drug use, records said. Amy Lieu, Fox News, "Newly engaged runner stabbed to death in DC to be buried in wedding dress," 25 Sep. 2018 But material on my mother’s paranoia and delusions was not as readily available, and absent from my school health classes in the ’70s and ’80s. Laura Zera, New York Times, "No One Helped My Mentally Ill Mother, or Me," 22 June 2018 Signs of a marijuana overdose could include a rapid heart rate, hallucinations, vomiting, panic attacks and paranoia. Everton Bailey Jr.,, "Oregon mom cited after toddler overdoses on marijuana-infused candy," 31 May 2018 Taking mushrooms can lead to nausea, panic attacks and, rarely, paranoia and psychosis. Barbara Feder Ostrov, sacbee, "'Magic' mushrooms: The next great legalization debate," 29 May 2018 And this is where the paranoia began, because the vast majority of people were kind and normal. Ta-nehisi Coates, The Atlantic, "I’m Not Black, I’m Kanye," 7 May 2018 There’s always the chance that some life event (even Jerry’s impending nuptials) is a decoy designed to lure someone into a highly taggable place, so the entire plot is strangely choked with a paranoia. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Tag, You’re Not It," 14 June 2018 Fox News not only has cultivated a symbiotic relationship with the president, but has adopted the racial paranoia and conspiracy-theorizing of the alt-right. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "The Breitbartization of Fox News," 22 Mar. 2018

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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Statistics for paranoia

Last Updated

8 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for paranoia

The first known use of paranoia was in 1887

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More Definitions for paranoia



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.


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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More from Merriam-Webster on paranoia

Spanish Central: Translation of paranoia

Nglish: Translation of paranoia for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of paranoia for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about paranoia

Comments on paranoia

What made you want to look up paranoia? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of returning to life

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