Definition of phobia in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfəʊbɪə/


An extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something: she suffered from a phobia about birds
More example sentences
  • Irrational fears and phobias, for example, are essentially habits of mind that we acquire, not feelings we were born with.
  • It accounts for most of our fears, even our likes and dislikes, and phobias.
  • It is certainly possible to argue that neurotic symptoms, like phobias or obsessions, are strictly determined.
abnormal fear, irrational fear, obsessive fear, fear, dread, horror, terror, dislike, hatred, loathing, detestation, distaste, aversion, antipathy, revulsion, repulsion;
spectre, bugbear, bogey, nightmare, bête noire;
complex, fixation, preoccupation, idée fixe, mania, neurosis, anxiety, obsession
informal thing, hang-up


Late 18th century: independent usage of -phobia.

  • This is an independent usage of the suffix -phobia (via Latin from Greek) meaning ‘fear’. In modern times psychologists have ransacked the Greek and Latin languages to find ever more words to combine with phobia as new fears have been uncovered. These include brontophobia (early 20th century),‘fear of thunder’ formed from Greek bronte ‘thunder’ also found in brontosaurus (late 19th century) literally ‘thunder lizard’; heliophobia (late 19th century) formed from helios Greek for ‘sun’, also found in heliotrope (Old English) for a plant that turns its flowers to follow the sun; and among the most recent nomophobia, a joking coinage of 2008 for those who feel anxious if they have no mobile phone.

Words that rhyme with phobia

agoraphobia, claustrophobia, homophobia, hydrophobia, technophobia, xenophobia, Zenobia

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: pho¦bia

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