Monday, December 15, 2008

The Phobophobic's* Nightmare

We discovered last night. I can’t even remember what prompted the search, but in no time the entire family was laughing at the abundance of phobias out there. We've all heard of claustrophobia and arachnophobia, but there's so much more to be afraid of! Here are a few of our favorites:

I definitely suffer from emetophobia (fear of vomiting), as well as a mild form of arachibutyrophobia (fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth).

My children seem to suffer from hypengyophobia (fear of responsibility), and also clinophobia (fear of going to bed), pteronophobia (fear of being tickled by feathers), vestiphobia (fear of clothing), and, occasionally, kathisophobia (fear of sitting down).

Conversely, they most certainly do not suffer from syngenesophobia (fear of relatives), allodoxaphobia (fear of opinions), elurophobia (fear of cats), ataxophobia (fear of disorder or untidiness), gymnophobia (fear of nudity), porphyrophobia (fear of the color purple).

There are a few that would be terribly inconvenient to have at the same time, such as pluviophobia (fear of rain or being rained on) and xerophobia (fear of dryness), or dextrophobia (fear of things on the right side of the body) and levophobia (fear of things on the left side of the body), or peladophobia (fear of bald people) and trichopathophobia (fear of hair).

I can understand how some people might suffer from agateophobia (fear of insanity), bromidrosiphobia (fear of body smells), ephebiphobia (fear of teenagers), and mnemophobia (fear of memories), and I’ve met people who appear to suffer from epistemophobia (fear of knowledge) and sophophobia (fear of learning), but aulophobia (fear of flutes), geniophobia (fear of chins), genuphobia (fear of knees), linonophobia (fear of string), lutraphobia (fear of otters), nomatophobia (fear of names), and zemmiphobia (fear of the great mole rat) really make no sense to me.

However, I think helminthophobia (fear of being infested with worms) haunts us all.

Some are fun to combine. We came up with emetoelurophobia (the fear of vomiting cats), and peladopogonophobia (the fear of bald people with beards). Or there’s the dreaded mnemokathisoautomatonosocerasopho-
scriptohexakosioihexekontahexaxerovestiphobia (the fear of remembering sitting down next to a ventriloquist’s dummy in the vicinity of your parents-in-law and learning to write the number 666 in public while wearing dry clothing)

And the best phobia ever: hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, the fear of long words.

*phobophobia: the fear of phobias


  1. I'm afraid of the great mole rat!

    This is killer!

  2. I have a fear of people starting to play games without me and then refusing to either start over or play again later. What is that called? I also have a fear of jello with carrot shavings in it. I feel like its evil somehow. I can't explain it. :)


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