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[par-uh-noi-uh] /ˌpær əˈnɔɪ ə/

Psychiatry. a mental disorder characterized by systematized delusions and the projection of personal conflicts, which are ascribed to the supposed hostility of others, sometimes progressing to disturbances of consciousness and aggressive acts believed to be performed in self-defense or as a mission.
baseless or excessive suspicion of the motives of others.
a form of schizophrenia characterized by a slowly progressive deterioration of the personality, involving delusions and often hallucinations
a mental disorder characterized by any of several types of delusions, in which the personality otherwise remains relatively intact
(informal) intense fear or suspicion, esp when unfounded

“mental disorder characterized by systematized delusions,” 1848 (earlier paranoea 1811), from Greek paranoia “mental derangement, madness,” from paranoos “mentally ill, insane,” from para- “beside, beyond” (see para- (1)) + noos “mind.”

FOR several years frequent descriptions have been given in the foreign journals, especially German and Italian, of the forms of insanity designated by the names Paranoia, Verrücktkeit, and Wahnsinn. [“Paranoia — Systematized Delusions and Mental Degenerations,” J. Séglas (transl. William Noyes), 1888]

paranoia par·a·noi·a (pār’ə-noi’ə)

paranoia [(par-uh-noy-uh)]

A form of psychosis marked by delusions of persecution and of grandeur. One who suffers from paranoia is paranoid.

Note: In popular terminology, a “paranoid” personality is characterized by suspicion and distrust of others; a tendency to look for hidden meaning behind other people’s actions; argumentativeness; complaining; low tolerance for criticism; and a constant display of one’s own talents, accomplishments, independence, and rationality.


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  • Paranoid personality

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  • Paranoid schizophrenia

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