Medical Definition of Hydrophobia

  • 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.

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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Reviewed on 12/21/2018

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