Definition of phobia in English:



  • An extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something.

    ‘he had a phobia about being under water’
    ‘a phobia of germs’
    ‘a snake phobia’
    • ‘She and I share a lot of the same fears and phobias.’
    • ‘As I grew up and began to delve into myself a little more, I learnt the truth behind fears - from phobias to totally rational terrors.’
    • ‘As for society, it needs to confront its petty phobias, paranoid fears and recognize the self in the other.’
    • ‘Irrational fears and phobias, for example, are essentially habits of mind that we acquire, not feelings we were born with.’
    • ‘Sharron developed several phobias including claustrophobia and a feeling of uncleanliness no matter how often she washed.’
    • ‘It is certainly possible to argue that neurotic symptoms, like phobias or obsessions, are strictly determined.’
    • ‘Benumbed fear often turns into panic, phobias, irrational prejudice, and violence.’
    • ‘Do you treat social phobias the same way you treat the other phobias, like a fear of heights, for example?’
    • ‘No matter how big or brave some of us appear to be, we all have our secret fears; phobias which reduce us to babbling physical wrecks.’
    • ‘Jane is one of thousands in this country who suffer from a phobia or obsessive compulsive disorder.’
    • ‘Fears and phobias and creative blocks spring to my mind.’
    • ‘And because those thoughts are at the forefront of our minds, we forget to act on the other fears and phobias that need release.’
    • ‘At this time, the patient is open to suggestion, and can be desensitised towards fears, phobias, pain and personal issues.’
    • ‘Certainly, an excessive capacity for fear leads to all sorts of problems that many people would dearly love to be free of, such as phobias and panic attacks.’
    • ‘It accounts for most of our fears, even our likes and dislikes, and phobias.’
    • ‘The child may develop school phobias, compulsive eating or psychosomatic illnesses.’
    • ‘Apart from health problems, it makes children superstitious and exposes them to morbid fears and phobias.’
    • ‘A phobia is an irrational, uncontrollable fear of a specific object or situation.’
    • ‘I am more stressed, more depressed and still suffer from various fears and phobias.’
    • ‘If the object of the fear is easy to avoid, people with phobias may not feel the need to seek treatment.’
    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
    thing, hang-up
    View synonyms


Late 18th century: independent usage of -phobia.