Share this entry

Share this page

paranoia

Syllabification: par·a·noi·a
Pronunciation: /ˌperəˈnoiə
 
/

Definition of paranoia in English:

noun

1A mental condition characterized by delusions of persecution, unwarranted jealousy, or exaggerated self-importance, typically elaborated into an organized system. It may be an aspect of chronic personality disorder, of drug abuse, or of a serious condition such as schizophrenia in which the person loses touch with reality.
Example sentences
  • He spent some time in America and there he began to show signs of paranoia and other aspects of mental disturbance.
  • Twenty years of turmoil followed; five breakdowns including episodes of paranoia and delusions.
  • Mr Crosland said Day's use of amphetamines had caused delusions and paranoia.
Synonyms
1.1Suspicion and mistrust of people or their actions without evidence or justification: the global paranoia about hackers and viruses
More example sentences
  • Setting aside suspicion and paranoia, surely highways officials must have a plan for the future of this area.
  • On the space station that orbits Solaris, paranoia has evolved into a degree of mistrust, bordering on terror.
  • The atmosphere of universal suspicion and vigilance of the Terror years was not irrational paranoia.

Origin

early 19th century: modern Latin, from Greek, from paranoos 'distracted', from para 'irregular' + noos 'mind'.

More
  • This word is modern Latin, from Greek paranoos ‘distracted’, from para ‘irregular’ and noos ‘mind’.

Derivatives

paranoiac

1
Pronunciation: /-ˈnoi-ak, -ˈnoi-ik/
adjective& noun
Example sentences
  • Terrible paranoiac fear gripped me, and behind every tree I suspected maleficent laughter being muffled.
  • One of the most notorious paranoiacs was Nero, who in AD 59 engineered the murder of his mother Agrippina because she objected to his relationship with his mistress Poppaea.
  • Conspiracy paranoiacs will of course insist that the Agency is leaking the bad news as part of a subtle plot to throw us all off the scent of their shocking capabilities.

paranoiacally

2
adverb
Example sentences
  • [It is a] standard Yorkshire greeting that is not meant to make you paranoiacally wonder if you suddenly started looking very ill.
  • They can count his contradictions: he bragged, lied, cheated, played, was a bigamist, betrayed every one of his four wives, believed in the sanctity of marriage, was paranoiacally suspicious of his friends.

paranoic

3
Pronunciation: /-ˈnoi-ik/
adjective
Example sentences
  • They have never talked about empire, never asked for anything which was not theirs and despite the sabre rattling and bombast of the USA have never been drawn into any counterthreats or paranoic arms races.
  • Purged of the pathology of paranoic war-mongering and financial scare tactics, in a realm where the world is as we have created it, the world online may prove to be an opening to Utopia whose space we ought eagerly to explore.
  • The paranoic vision of a world turned in on itself where all humanity has been drained and replaced with shambling, cannibalistic creatures that never stop hunting you freaks me out.

paranoically

4
adverb
Example sentences
  • What's more, his vigilance was becoming claustrophobically possessive and paranoically jealous: he would ring her several times a day to check up on her.
  • By then, Philip was already peering through the blinds of the window with a single eye, paranoically watching the slick looking kid leaning against the structure.
  • She held her eyes intently, paranoically, seeming to bore through the middle of my forehead.

Words that rhyme with paranoia

annoyer, Boyer, destroyer, employer, enjoyer, Goya, hoya, lawyer, Nagoya, sequoia, soya

Definition of paranoia in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day cumbersome
Pronunciation: ˈkʌmbəs(ə)m
adjective
large or heavy and therefore difficult to carry…