Something that really bothers me is when people say something like "This place is really claustrophobic", when of course it is them who is claustrophobic, not the place. However, it bothers me more that I don't know what the correct term is.

So is there a term that describes something which provokes the claustrophobia within a person? The most plausible word I could find from a brief search is "claustral", though based on Wikitionary it doesn't really seem relevant apart from its Latin root "claustrum", which can mean "confined space".

Also, is there a word for the feeling of a claustrophic person in such a place? For example, "I am claustrophobic, so I'm feeling very _____ in here.".

  • Confining. Constricting. Oppressive.
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 22, 2015 at 7:55

2 Answers 2


Claustrophobic can actually be used referring to a place:

  • Tending to induce claustrophobia; uncomfortably confined or crowded:

    • a claustrophobic little room.


  • unpleasantly cramped, confined, or closed in:

    • narrow claustrophobic spaces.


Its usage referring to a place is quite common as shown in : Ngram.

Its origin is from 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."
  • That's true, bit it just seems wrong. Is there not even a word that can be constructed in a literal sense, or perhaps just a suffix that can be applied to various word stems to denote causation of emotional provocation?
    – Bobe
    Oct 22, 2015 at 7:36
  • You can say, I am feeling very confined in here.
    – user66974
    Oct 22, 2015 at 7:37
  • Yes, but I'm not really searching for alternatives, I'm more trying to understand the fundamental construction of the words, words which most likely wouldn't be used in literary works in favour of more diverse ones.
    – Bobe
    Oct 22, 2015 at 7:39
  • @Bobe ~ maybe you should edit your question to clarify what you are actually asking. Do you want us to coin a new word? Oct 22, 2015 at 7:42
  • @RoaringFish No, I just wasn't sure if such a word existed. I found it strange that -phobic could mean both to have fear of and to induce fear of something.
    – Bobe
    Oct 22, 2015 at 7:44

If we’re on the subject of coining new words may I suggest chlostrophixiate (to make someone feel cholostrophobic)

  • Avoid writing anything in an answer box which does not give at least a partial answer to the question at the top. Answers that are not attempts to answer the question may be removed. See: “Why and how are some answers deleted? - Help Center”.
    – MetaEd
    Sep 24, 2018 at 15:49
  • Thanks, Thomas, and we’re not on the subject of coining new words and if we were, what d'you think a spell-checker might make of chlostrophixiate or cholostrophobic? Sep 24, 2018 at 22:48

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