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 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 Whittington foresees child development experts and teachers encountering an Existential kid might be concerned about anxiety, paranoia, agoraphobia, antisocial disorders, and unusual phobias. Cathy Hackl, Forbes, "Five Kids From The Future," 18 Apr. 2021 But China’s hard-liners, driven by growing paranoia of foreign infiltration and desire to punish critical voices abroad, are cutting off a useful source of information. Washington Post, "China researchers face abuse, sanctions as Beijing looks to silence critics," 7 Apr. 2021 Your paranoia is a product of your discontent with this relationship., "Should I trust her?," 29 Mar. 2021 Ashley was found with high levels of meth in her system on a blowup mattress in the living room that Marc set up to stand guard against the invisible monsters of his paranoia, authorities said. Sally Ho And Camille Fassett, Chron, "AP Exclusive: Pandemic means far fewer eyes on kids' welfare," 29 Mar. 2021 In my frustration, my writing devolved into ranting lists that ran the gamut of instances of microaggressions to harassment, to assault, to my own paranoia. Jerrine Tan, Wired, "The Atlanta Shootings Made Me Stop Gaslighting Myself," 19 Mar. 2021 Anthony Ferrill, 51, had been exhibiting paranoia and erratic behavior for about three years before the shooting. Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Two longtime workers dead at Roundy's Distribution Center in Oconomowoc; suspect takes own life after chase, crash," 17 Mar. 2021 Public defenders for Penna argued that his paranoia and delusions led him on his murderous rampage. David Schutz,, "‘They focused on the gory details:’ As appeal nears for killer, mother tells Sword & Scale podcast his insanity was dismissed in trial," 8 Mar. 2021 Even with a vaccine, my paranoia from the last 12 months was still there. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, "I saw 3 movies in 2 days when New York City theaters reopened. Here's what happened.," 8 Mar. 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.

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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

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Paranoia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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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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