Medical Definition of Thermophobia

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Thermophobia: An abnormal and persistent fear of heat, including hot weather and hot objects. Sufferers from thermophobia experience anxiety even though they realize their fear is irrational. To avoid heat, they may live in a cold climate, wear light clothing, stay indoors on warm days, and avoid hot water and hot foods.

"Thermophobia" is derived from the Greek "therme" (heat) and "phobos" (fear). This same Greek word has given us many English words, such as "thermometer" (a device for measuring temperature) and "thermostat" (a device for regulating temperature).

The opposite of thermophobia is cryophobia, fear of the cold.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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