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[klaw-struh-foh-bee-uh] /ˌklɔ strəˈfoʊ bi ə/
an abnormal fear of being in enclosed or narrow places.
Origin of claustrophobia
1875-80; < Latin claustr(um) bolt (see claustrum) + -o- + -phobia
Can be confused
acrophobia, agoraphobia, claustrophobia. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for claustrophobia
  • They must learn to overcome their innate claustrophobia to enter the starting gate.
  • It all connects with the oppressive claustrophobia and the disfunctional relationships.
  • claustrophobia is arguably less of a choice than being fat, after all.
  • Minimalist backpacking tents work fine during slumber but can leave you fighting claustrophobia during waking hours.
  • The winged shape and the ample width of the counter are carefully chosen to create intimacy without a feeling of claustrophobia.
  • Once the engine is turned off, the air gets stifling, adding to the claustrophobia.
  • Bring your own soft kneepads and check your claustrophobia at the entrance.
  • Once inside the suit a wave of claustrophobia and nausea gripped me.
  • He's an obsessive who's found a way to portray claustrophobia in wide-open urban space.
  • Yet those silences go on to build an unnerving sense of claustrophobia and isolation.
British Dictionary definitions for claustrophobia


/ˌklɔːstrəˈfəʊbɪə; ˌklɒs-/
an abnormal fear of being closed in or of being in a confined space
Derived Forms
claustrophobe, noun
Word Origin
C19: from claustro-, from Latin claustrumcloister + -phobia
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for claustrophobia

"morbid fear of being shut up in a confined space," coined 1879 (in article by Italian-born, French-naturalized Swiss-English physician Dr. Benjamin Ball (1834-1892)) from Latin claustrum "a bolt, a means of closing; a place shut in, confined place, frontier fortress" (in Medieval Latin "cloister"), past participle of claudere "to close" (see close (v.)) + -phobia "fear."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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claustrophobia in Medicine

claustrophobia claus·tro·pho·bi·a (klô'strə-fō'bē-ə)
An abnormal fear of being in narrow or enclosed spaces.

claus'tro·phobe' n.
claus'tro·pho'bic adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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claustrophobia in Culture
claustrophobia [(klaw-struh-foh-bee-uh)]

An abnormal fear of being shut in or enclosed.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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