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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from paranoia

paranoiac \ ˌper-​ə-​ˈnȯi-​ˌak How to pronounce paranoia (audio) , -​ˈnȯi-​ik , ˌpa-​rə-​ \ or less commonly paranoic \ ˌper-​ə-​ˈnȯi(-​i)k How to pronounce paranoia (audio) , -​ˈnō-​ik , ˌpa-​rə-​ \ adjective or noun
paranoically \ ˌper-​ə-​ˈnȯi(-​i)-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce paranoia (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 That bone-deep sense of paranoia is not the only reminder of her time at Mid-Columbia. Brendan I. Koerner, Wired, 12 Oct. 2021 After Dyson's report, Prince William — without naming Bashir — spoke of his anger at how the program had exacerbated Diana's feelings of paranoia. Simon Perry, PEOPLE.com, 8 Oct. 2021 That kind of paranoia is neither an American value, nor a conservative one. Jd Flynn, National Review, 4 Sep. 2021 Summer storms are all about situational awareness and a healthy sense of paranoia. Todd Nelson, Star Tribune, 23 July 2021 The real worry concerning the China Evergrande default drama is the inevitable where-there’s-smoke-there’s-fire paranoia that accompanies debt stumbles. William Pesek, Forbes, 30 Sep. 2021 Some of the other concerns expressed at the hearing bordered on paranoia. Tom Schad, USA TODAY, 30 Sep. 2021 Pushed by his equally ambitious wife, Macbeth commits various brutal acts of violence and treachery to secure more power and status, until they are both consumed by guilt and paranoia over their respective actions and driven mad. Rivea Ruff, Essence, 29 Sep. 2021 But though such trends have contributed to the proliferation of political paranoia, conspiracy theorizing cannot be fully pinned on recent crises any more than it can be relegated to the Dark Ages. Sara Lipton, The New York Review of Books, 23 Sep. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About paranoia

Time Traveler for paranoia

Time Traveler

The first known use of paranoia was in 1887

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near paranoia

para-nitroaniline

paranoia

paranoid

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for paranoia

Last Updated

17 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Paranoia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/paranoia. Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for paranoia

paranoia

noun

English Language Learners Definition of paranoia

: 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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!