Medical Definition of Hydrophobia

Hydrophobia: 1. Literally, an irrational fear of water, to drink or to swim in. Someone who is scared of the water is hydrophobic. 2. A term once commonly used for rabies because in the later stages of that disease, the animal (or person) has difficulty swallowing and so fears a drink of water.

From hydro-, water + -phobia, fear.

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Last Editorial Review: 5/13/2016

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