Definition of paranoia in English:



  • 1[mass noun] A mental condition characterized by delusions of persecution, unwarranted jealousy, or exaggerated self-importance, typically worked 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.

    • ‘He spent some time in America and there he began to show signs of paranoia and other aspects of mental disturbance.’
    • ‘He said people suffering from paranoia are known to have a capacity to be very dangerous.’
    • ‘Mr Crosland said Day's use of amphetamines had caused delusions and paranoia.’
    • ‘Twenty years of turmoil followed; five breakdowns including episodes of paranoia and delusions.’
    • ‘The most common symptom of paranoia is the belief that someone or something is persecuting you.’
    persecution complex, delusions, obsession, megalomania, monomania
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Unjustified suspicion and mistrust of other people.
      ‘mild paranoia afflicts all prime ministers’
      • ‘This is a city prone to paranoia at the best of times, as personified by that quintessential New Yorker, Woody Allen.’
      • ‘She felt paranoia and panic rising up to claim her, but she wouldn't let that happen.’
      • ‘Face it, our information is safer when we have a healthy dose of paranoia regarding it.’
      • ‘She looked like she was on the edge of paranoia from being watched as though she was on display.’
      • ‘In any organism, person, organisation, or even country stress leads to paranoia.’
      • ‘On the space station that orbits Solaris, paranoia has evolved into a degree of mistrust, bordering on terror.’
      • ‘Who expects to find an aging Spanish nanny at the center of a tale of religious hysteria, paranoia, murder and revenge?’
      • ‘When two young men are driving along the highway one evening, they are flagged down by a cop and anxiety soon turns to paranoia.’
      • ‘I almost thought I could see a dark shape through the veil of flames, but I passed it off as paranoia.’
      • ‘Let it never be said that the Left doesn't have its fair share of paranoia and persecution complexes.’
      • ‘Well it was too late now and my jealousy and paranoia grew on one fateful Friday afternoon.’
      • ‘In many cases, these suspicions may be so unreasonable as to border on paranoia.’
      • ‘The atmosphere of universal suspicion and vigilance of the Terror years was not irrational paranoia.’
      • ‘Live in a state of perpetual paranoia and always know what your competitors are doing.’
      • ‘The paranoia of a parent who's lost their child is easy to empathise with and makes gripping drama.’
      • ‘America's predominant mental state was one of anticommunist paranoia.’
      • ‘I think paranoia is only useful if you're in combat and need to be constantly ready to kill.’
      • ‘The film succeeds because we are made to feel a little bit of the confusion, paranoia and madness of war.’
      • ‘Setting aside suspicion and paranoia, surely highways officials must have a plan for the future of this area.’
      • ‘It is a tale of psychological terror and at its heart are paranoia and fear.’


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