Listophilia: Phobia’s

Welcome to Listophilia!!

As an avid word collector, I love offbeat words just about as much as I love lists. Today, we will be looking at the word-forming element “-phobia”!

While “phobia” can be a word-forming element, it also exists as a stand alone word: A phobia (n) is an “irrational fear, horror, aversion.” The word comes from the Greek word “phobos”, meaning “fear, panic fear, terror, outward show of fear; object of fear or terror.” In clinical psychology, a phobia “is an overwhelming and unreasonable fear of an object or situation that poses little real danger but provokes anxiety and avoidance.” When combined with another word or root word, “-phobia” indicates a fear of that thing. For instance, “agora” is Greek for “marketplace, meeting place”, and agoraphobia is the fear of being in crowds, public places, or open areas. It’s other form is “-phobic”, which turns the word into an adjective.

The following list has some of the most interesting or most humorous I found when combing through a couple different resources. While some of them sound pretty funny, these are actual disorders that people suffer from, so keep that in mind.

Let’s get started!

  1. Acerophobia (n): fear of sourness.
  2. Anglophobia (n: fear of England or the English
  3. Cathisophobia (n): fear of sitting
  4. Dextrophobia (n): fear of objects at the right side of the body.
  5. Eleutherophobia (n): fear of freedom
  6. Geniophobia (n): fear of chins
  7. Linonophobia (n): fear of string
  8. Metrophobia (n): fear of poetry
  9. Novercaphobia (n): fear of one’s stepmother
  10. Ophthalmophobia (n): fear of being stared at
  11. Papaphobia (n): fear of the Pope.
  12. Porphyrophobia (n): fear of the color purple.
  13. Pteronophobia (n): fear of being tickled by feathers
  14. Venustraphobia (n): fear of beautiful women.
  15. Zemmiphobia (n): fear of the great mole rat.

What other “phobia” words have you come across?

(Resources: The PhrontisteryOnline Etymology Dictionary, The Phobia List, The Mayo Clinic)


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