What is the medical term for people who shop too much? (Not “shopaholic”)

‘Tis the season for family reunions, champagne toasts, and, of course, shopping.

It’s likely that you know someone who you consider a shopaholic. Perhaps you think that she has a superhuman stamina for long lines, crowded malls, and late night purchasing. Or perhaps you think he just doesn’t know when to quit, spending way past his budget.

“Shopaholic” is, of course, informal, and usually applied with humor. There is, though, an actual medical term for people who have an uncontrollable and compulsive desire to shop: oniomania.

Oniomania comes from the Greek onios, which means “for sale,” and mania, which means “insanity.”

While those who have a fear of money don’t have to worry about excessive shopping, they most likely possess an equally difficult set of problems. Learn the name of this phobia, here.

Compulsive shopping hasn’t been studied to the same extent as other dependencies or addictions. However, some people consider it to be a very serious and widespread problem that can cause grave social, financial, and emotional effects.

What do you think? Do you know an oniomaniac? Share your experiences below. To close, click these other common fears or compulsions to learn their medical names:


  1. ben -  December 4, 2014 - 7:56 am

    Pretty sure that the infliction is not an inherited disease but an acquired one.

    While i can say for sure what selling techniques were used back in ancient Greece, i think that in todays world its safe to blame the credit card companies, mind altering advertisements, keeping up with the Jones delusion and of course the color red.

  2. Erin -  May 22, 2011 - 1:25 pm

    This is a serious problem and I don’t understand why people are making fun of it.

  3. baby123 -  January 10, 2011 - 8:42 am

    were not flirting o.k

  4. susanqiao -  December 18, 2010 - 2:07 am

    Sometimes, I am a little shopaholic as I feel relax and not tired at all in shopping places. I regards it as the way to relax and keep fit. I feel exacted and happy to see so many colorful things around. It is not important to own them sometimes and just have a look, wall around, feel that you are in the people. It is important to control yourself not to buy something unuseful.. But it is good way to release your press sometimes really.

  5. Justin Nahin -  December 13, 2010 - 6:09 pm

    When it comes to shopping I have completely moved over to the internet. Especially during these hectic holidays, when shopping can be an absolute headache with the number of people crowding these malls.

  6. Curly -  December 12, 2010 - 12:58 pm


    You wrote, “There is, though, an actual medical term for people who have an uncontrollable and compulsive desire to shop: oniomania.”

    But “oniomania” is not the medical term for these people. It’s the medical term for their psychological disorder. Please fix this.

    (How about “…an actual medical term for a person who has an uncontrollable and compulsive desire to shop: oniomaniac”?)

  7. louis paiz -  December 10, 2010 - 1:42 pm

    many of us worry about money too much. money is a necesity whithout it we can not survive go to the supermarket and ask for a free gallon of milk and see what happens.in refference to shopoholics we became espenders by advertizers on tv radio billboards and viciversa.shopping is not bad when we used our money wiselly. we must know the value of money and do not turn ourselves in miners donkey that is carring two sacks of gold but it does not know what the gold is good for money or gold is for living well travel eat help the needed give to your church so what is wrong with shopping or living well. thanks

  8. Reverend Trevor McCoy -  December 10, 2010 - 4:27 am

    i am a Vicar and i would like to say that God just sent a message to me comfirming that Baby123 and Jim should not be flirting on an online website due to the fact that you do not know each others age, gender, personality or most importantly appearance. Amen
    P.S. Merry Christmas
    P.P.S GOd Bless Everyone

  9. baby123 -  December 9, 2010 - 10:10 am

    yea sure cyberquill

  10. blahblahblah -  December 8, 2010 - 2:58 pm

    Tis the season to be onionmaniac or whatever tis

  11. blahblahblah -  December 8, 2010 - 2:57 pm

    I don’t like to EAT onions, but I like to smell them.:.:.:.:.:.

  12. baby123 -  December 8, 2010 - 9:25 am

    ummm hi cybrerquill

  13. baby123 -  December 8, 2010 - 9:25 am

    ummm hi cybrerquill

  14. Anonymous -  December 7, 2010 - 11:56 am

    come on shopping is a frrk’n obbsesion..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Prof. William Parker Ph.D. -  December 7, 2010 - 8:51 am

    Amazingly interesting especially in the midst of holiday seson..Keep the mind-tickling feature come in.

  16. Baby Club -  December 6, 2010 - 9:50 pm

    Haha you are guys so funny called yourself onionmaniac. This word should be used better instead of shopholic. Merry happy christmas soon.

  17. #1 Skillet Fan -  December 6, 2010 - 3:10 pm

    @smoothius: If you find out what the opposite of a shopoholic is please let me know because I have that too lol :)
    I’m so tight with my money I won’t even buy myself a new pair of vic firth drumsticks just because they cost money XD!!!
    ~Chick Drummer~

  18. baby123 -  December 6, 2010 - 9:43 am

    cool jim im srry i put in the wrong order and i am im learning about history, again jim thnx for the advice god bless you jim and u got a gf cause u seem pretty good about the bible and ur reign on jesus u seem like a godly man and god loves you for it sooo… write back to me

  19. baby123 -  December 6, 2010 - 9:36 am

    im serious that realy happend if u dont belive me get a bible and go to mathew, mark, luke ,john,in the new testemant so read THE BILbE

  20. HOLDUP | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  December 6, 2010 - 7:48 am

    [...] few or continue to eliminate the inheritance tax for the wealthy — Americans are idiots with Oniomania let it be and these actions are not even stealthy. — You’re a FOOL Bamma Lamma Ding [...]

  21. crushin -  December 5, 2010 - 8:32 pm

    Good point Fiammetta!

  22. JEOPARDIZE | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  December 5, 2010 - 10:30 am

    [...] does “CORRODE”. The US and THEM with the “DUNGEON TAN” watch any human bean connection “CORRODE”. — We be the Prey with nothing to say and we’ll simply vaporize [...]

  23. Wrasfish -  December 5, 2010 - 5:43 am

    I once encountered a woman who was in the middle of being foreclosed and evicted from her home, who purchased an expensive dining room set.

    This is a medical problem related to clinical depression, and it is not a scam to defraud insurance companies. Fiametta, you are absolutely right.

    (And I worked for more than thirty years as a hearing officer for Social Security disability).

  24. Fiammetta -  December 4, 2010 - 2:18 pm

    There are many behavior-based disorders/conditions, some of which have only recently been discovered or that we are still learning about. It isn’t really fair to say that diagnoses of these conditions are BS, because countless people struggle with them every day. I have a few family members who are alcoholics, one of whom also has a gambling addiction. Another family member is an oniomaniac as well as a hoarder, and she has no room in her house to do necessary daily activities. These are all friendly, intelligent people, with children and grandchildren they care about very much. They know what they are doing to themselves, but they cannot stop. They refuse help offered to them, because they think they can “take care of themselves” and control their addictions. Of course, they didn’t choose to become addicted. They are not “bad people” or “sinners” because they suffer from conditions involving self-destructive behavior.
    I really wish people would educate themselves a little more about mental illness, neurological disorders, and other non-physical conditions. Yes, sometimes it is extremely difficult to deal with people with addictions, but they are human beings with feelings, interests, families and friends, just like anyone else.

  25. cyberbrook -  December 4, 2010 - 1:40 pm

    All the corporations want you to be oniomaniacs to support their greedy profit motive.

    Support yourself, your savings, and our environment instead
    by making, trading, finding, reducing, using and reusing what you have, sharing experiences, giving time, donations, etc.

  26. Jim -  December 4, 2010 - 12:55 pm

    My comment is to Baby123. Sister, check the record again on Jesus. His first miracle was turning water into wine. Grape juice would not get invented till the late 1890s. If you are bored in school, it’s only because you are obviously not paying attention. If you ever want to go to college to actually get an education, you need to at least learn how to spell and write correctly. Jesus was educated at home and by the rabbis. As a carpenter, he had to do measurements and some math (which was difficult at that time). He also spoke several languages. The focus of Christianity is on serving others, but God helps those who help themselves. Pay attention in school! Amen!

  27. Michael M -  December 4, 2010 - 12:10 pm

    I can only stay here for a few seconds. The paranoids are following me!

  28. JfromI -  December 4, 2010 - 11:29 am

    @ getting bored: I’m with you. I believe everyone has some sort of quirk or idiosyncrasy.

  29. Phillie -  December 4, 2010 - 11:13 am

    I’m an onionmaniac. (:

  30. Bradford Richardson -  December 4, 2010 - 10:29 am


  31. Samanna -  December 4, 2010 - 9:55 am

    the people who comment on this site are realllllllly strange…

    …Like I’m kinda disturbed by these comments…

    is everyone on LSD or something?

  32. ivy -  December 4, 2010 - 9:48 am

    i think i’m a logomaniac(can’t stop talking!)go logomaniacs!

  33. stef -  December 4, 2010 - 9:44 am

    my mom is such an ergomaniac(workaholic)!

  34. There'snogoodnamsanymore -  December 4, 2010 - 8:27 am

    Here’s the solution to everyone’s shopping problems. Including black friday and Christmas………..shop online…get a paypal. It saves lives.

  35. smoothius -  December 4, 2010 - 6:41 am

    what is it called when you have a complete and total aversion/revulsion for shopping? you know, the exact opposite of a shopaholic? i am afflicted with that:) when i go shopping i already know what i’m going to get, go straight to it, grab it, go straight to the checkout and get out!

  36. Jim Valko -  December 4, 2010 - 5:15 am

    What’s unbelievable is that they would even have a medical term for someone who shops too much. When exactly did BEHAVIOR turn into a MEDICAL CONDITION? It’s BS. It’s a money making scheme. They use labels like this legitimize their scheme and charge insurance companies for their “treatment” What a joke.

  37. lorlor -  December 4, 2010 - 1:46 am

    I’m guilty! I’m one of those guilty onino…phobiacs! I just returned from dropping 133 dollars in dishes, and paper lanterns for my apartment, even though it is a recession, and I feel incredibly guilty, and some booze, which doesn’t count, ’cause that w/b alcoholism, or would it? I bought the alcohol for my parents.

  38. Michael Dadona -  December 4, 2010 - 12:42 am

    Can’t argue anymore once termed as medical term for Oniomania. Also to the following; Ailurophobia, Onychophagia, Ergomania, and Logomania.

    The thing to ask now is why those listed in the above paragraph of mine contained different rhyming compound with invented second element for; mania, phobia, and phagia?

    Another thing is the common element shared by all is “ia”. Why for “ia”?

  39. Cyberquill -  December 3, 2010 - 11:36 pm

    I’m an oniononionmaniac. I can’t stop buying onions.

  40. Faith -  December 3, 2010 - 11:09 pm

    I notice you said “he” not “he/she” in the second paragraph and considering that the majority of shopaholics are women, that is a sexist thing to say.

  41. poop -  December 3, 2010 - 10:12 pm

    It’s not studied as a physical dependancy like a drug or alcohol, but it seems as much of an addiction as gambling, which is clearly recognized. Personally, it’s quite odd. I get anxious if i see a variety of things I want without buying anything. It usually subsides only after buying something. If I walk away from something (even if I know it’s never going anywhere), I often will think about needing to get this object(s). Addiction? Probably not. Addition to anxiety issues? Most likely.

  42. Amazing -  December 3, 2010 - 9:28 pm

    I find it amazing how most of the comments here are by people who could not spell if their life depended on it.

  43. JT -  December 3, 2010 - 8:58 pm

    Why troll a dictionary site? Doesn’t that defeat the point?

  44. Emily -  December 3, 2010 - 8:36 pm

    my grandma is a oniomaniac. some people say shes generous cauz she spends money on other people not herself

  45. Emily -  December 3, 2010 - 8:33 pm

    hehe sounds more like insane onions..
    if you just scrolled down to see the word but didnt actually read the whole article say, ” my cheese is AWESOME!”

  46. Jaydub -  December 3, 2010 - 5:29 pm

    Haha, LOVE the “buy-polar” comment. Especially in relation to bipolar (manic/depressive) disorder, because in some stages of mania you feel like you can just go on an insane shopping spree, and somehow it feels as though it’s actually accomplishing you something good. Ususally doesn’t end up that way however…

  47. getting bored -  December 3, 2010 - 3:47 pm

    there is nobody who has not a pathological idiosyncracy more or less.

  48. moose west -  December 3, 2010 - 2:28 pm

    Oniomaniacs generally suffer from halitosis.

  49. moose west -  December 3, 2010 - 2:25 pm

    an oniomaniac is someone who cannot control his appetite for onions.

  50. blahblahblah -  December 3, 2010 - 1:42 pm

    chinchillas are nice

  51. sandra -  December 3, 2010 - 1:34 pm

    i had onycophagia when i was younger but i am gradually outgrowing it.

  52. blahblahblah -  December 3, 2010 - 1:31 pm

    you know what i dont get?why people are too lazy to open a BIG BOOK(&tis a big book)and just look up a word in there.but we are lazy people& have usar la computadora

  53. Cris Smith -  December 3, 2010 - 1:23 pm

    I know oniomaniac or shopping addicted individuals who are apt to suppress other emotions. On top of that, there is usually some other relation to abandonment. I think that the cause of this is related to the satisfaction one can compulsively attain in relation to materialistic prominence. Likewise, that supposed pre-eminence comes with expectation that others might admire them. Ultimately it seems to be a form of cyclical socio-satisfying indulgence. There is a difference between moderated need and representative opulence.

  54. heels & wheels -  December 3, 2010 - 1:07 pm

    the real question is Oniomanian better then a gold digger?

  55. heels n wheels -  December 3, 2010 - 12:55 pm

    money was meant to be spent….just spend it wisely;)

  56. Jackie -  December 3, 2010 - 11:58 am

    I would be guilty of the definition if I had oniomanian MONEY!

  57. Pastry Queen -  December 3, 2010 - 11:44 am

    Great artical! Do you think you could do an article about different fears? My personal favorite is Anatidaephobia – the fear that somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you.

  58. Jackson -  December 3, 2010 - 11:16 am

    Wow, Seph…you sound really upset about your friend getting trampled to death…by humans…

  59. Felicity Hunter -  December 3, 2010 - 11:03 am

    I’m a half Onychophagian.

  60. Felicity Hunter -  December 3, 2010 - 11:00 am

    I bite my nails, but not very far. In fact, about half the time you see me, I’m biting my nails ;)

  61. Nathan Hunter -  December 3, 2010 - 10:32 am

    Awesome artical. You mentioned an obsessive nail biting that’s named Onychophagia. I have that. I think extreme nail bititng should be a sport, because I just don’t bite my nails, I bite the part of my nails that’s on top of my finger. You know what I mean by that? People get kind of disgusted when the see me bite my fingers like that, but I don’t plam or care about changing it anytime soon.

  62. AMY-LOU -  December 3, 2010 - 10:30 am

    ONE TIME I SPENT 150 DOLLARS ON MY EX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  63. Heather -  December 3, 2010 - 10:24 am

    I am an oniomaniac. The humor associated with this is painful.

  64. BABY123 -  December 3, 2010 - 10:13 am

    i love shoping but not to much i went on t.v last night and guess what we went shoping for our new dress mine was silver it was pretty cool and i love it on t.v cool so excited im in school right now im bored but thank jesus that i can have an education well i am bored and my teacher does not know that i am on here so got 2 go bye god bless you all jesus loves you and if u dnt know the true meaning of christmas its all about jesus getting born in bethlehem and god told them to go because they were going to kill him soo he told them go to nazereth and they did soo god told them to go back and they did because it was safe to go back and the yrs past by and then jesus was a carpenter and he also had something else on his mind so he did so many miracles first he walked on water second he healed a man from being blind third he healed the good samereiten and fourth he gave to baskets to the people that were poor and there were five thosand people and he was the ,essiah alpha the omega the prince of peace and king of kings soo he was betrade by judas one of his twelve disiples they told the gaurds and the gards decided to kill him so they came to him and jesus already knew that they were going to kill him and they made him carry a cross all the way to five miles and five miles is twelev blocks away so they set him on the bump on a hill and they were mocking him and spitting on him and slapping him and hitting and stabbing him and omg they killed him on the cross and he rose again on the third day and went to heaven amen

  65. deee -  December 3, 2010 - 9:58 am

    im an oniomaniac ;D < $$

  66. Seph -  December 3, 2010 - 9:54 am

    one of my friends was a shopoholic or “oniomaniac” but, sadly, was trampled to death in a hilday shopping craze… AFTER spending $3,000 on 100 pairs of shoes!!!!!!

  67. Felicity Hunter -  December 3, 2010 - 9:32 am

    I don’t know any Oniomanians :) . But my great aunt Bella (pronouced /bell/), it’s like she has money to burn! She gives the most, most expensive gifts every Christmas!


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