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The English suffixes -phobia, -phobic, -phobe (of Greek origin: φόβος/φοβία ) occur in technical usage in psychiatry to construct words that describe irrational, disabling fear as a mental disorder (e.g., agoraphobia), in chemistry to describe chemical aversions (e.g., hydrophobic), in biology to describe organisms that dislike certain conditions (e.g., acidophobia), and in medicine to describe hypersensitivity to a stimulus, usually sensory (e.g., photophobia). In common usage they also form words that describe dislike or hatred of a particular thing or subject. The suffix is antonymic to -phil-.

For more information on the psychiatric side, including how psychiatry groups phobias as agoraphobia, social phobia, or simple phobia, see phobia.

The following lists include words ending in -phobia, and include fears that have acquired names. In some cases, the naming of phobias has become a word game, of notable example being a 1998 humorous article published by BBC News.[1]

In some cases a word ending in -phobia may have an antonym with the suffix -phil-, e.g., Germanophobe / Germanophile.

See also the category:Phobias.

Phobia lists

A large number of-phobia lists circulate on the Internet, with words collected from indiscriminate sources, often copying each other. Also, a number of psychiatric websites exist that at the first glance cover a huge number of phobias, but in fact use a standard text to fit any phobia and reuse it for all unusual phobias by merely changing the name. Sometimes it leads to bizarre results, such as suggestions to cure "prostitute phobia".[2] Such practice is known as content spamming and is used to attract search engines.

Psychological conditions

In many cases specialists prefer to avoid the suffix -phobia and use more descriptive terms, see, e.g., personality disorders, anxiety disorders, avoidant personality disorder, love-shyness.

Animal phobias

Non-psychological conditions

Biology, chemistry

Biologists use a number of -phobia/-phobic terms to describe predispositions by plants and animals against certain conditions. For antonyms, see here.

Prejudices and discrimination

The suffix -phobia is used to coin terms that denote a particular anti-ethnic or anti-demographic sentiment, such as Europhobia, Francophobia, Hispanophobia, and Indophobia. Often a synonym with the prefix "anti-" already exists (e.g., Polonophobia vs. anti-Polonism). Anti-religious sentiments are expressed in terms such as Christianophobia and Islamophobia.

Other prejudices include:

Jocular and fictional phobias

  • Aibohphobia – a joke term for the fear of palindromes, which is a palindrome itself. The term is a piece of computer humor entered into the 1981 The Devil's DP Dictionary[3]
  • Anachrophobia – fear of temporal displacement, from a Doctor Who novel by Jonathan Morris.
  • Anatidaephobia – fear of being watched by a duck. Comes from Gary Larson's The Far Side.[4]
  • Anoraknophobia – a portmanteau of "anorak" and "arachnophobia". Used in the Wallace and Gromit comic book Anoraknophobia. Also the title of an album by Marillion.
  • Arachibutyrophobia – fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth. The word is used by Peter O'Donnell in his 1985 Modesty Blaise adventure novel Dead Man's Handle.[5] It had circulated, unattributed, in the Internet for some time until it landed at the CTRN Phobia Clinic website: "Working one-on-one with one of our team, with guaranteed lifetime elimination of Sticky Peanut Butter Phobia. From $1497 and up."
  • Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia – fear of long words.[6] Hippopoto- "big" due to its allusion to the Greek-derived word hippopotamus (though this is derived as hippo- "horse" compounded with potam-os "river", so originally meaning "river horse"; according to the Oxford English, "hippopotamine" has been construed as large since 1847, so this coinage is reasonable); -monstr- is from Latin words meaning "monstrous", -o- is a noun-compounding vowel; -sesquipedali- comes from "sesquipedalian" meaning a long word (literally "a foot and a half long" in Latin), -o- is a noun-compounding vowel, and -phobia means "fear". Note: This was mentioned on the first episode of Brainiac Series Five as one of Tickle's Teasers.
  • Nihilophobia - fear of nothingness, as described by the Doctor in the Star Trek: Voyager episode Night. Voyager's morale officer and chef Neelix suffers from this condition, having panic attacks while the ship was traversing a dark expanse of space known as the Void. It is also the title of a 2008 album by Neuronium.
  • Venustraphobia – fear of beautiful women, according to a 1998 humorous article published by BBC News.[1] The word is a portmanteau of "Venus trap" and "phobia". Venustraphobia is the title of a 2006 album by Casbah Club.

Miscellaneous

References

  1. ^ a b The A- Z of Fear, an October 30, 1998 BBC News unsigned article in the "Entertainment" section
  2. ^ Content Spammers Help You Overcome Prostitute Phobia
  3. ^ The Computer Contradictionary by Stan Kelly-Bootle, "Aibohphobia", p. 7
  4. ^ "I hate to burst Poway Unified's balloon". The San Diego Union-Tribune. 2006-06-10. http://news.google.com/archivesearch?q=%22Anatidaephobia%22+%22I+hate+to+burst+Poway+Unified%27s+balloon%22&btnG=Search+Archives&scoring=a.  
  5. ^ The word appears in Chapter 10 when Modesty Blaise and her companion Willie Garvin play a word game in which Garvin challenges Blaise to decipher the meaning of words
  6. ^ Ben Farmer (10 Jan 2008). "Phobia catalogue reveals bizarre list of fears". Telegraph.co.uk. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1575157/Phobia-catalogue-reveals-bizarre-list-of-fears.html. "A catalogue of unusual phobias reveals that the fear of long words is known as hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia."  
  • Chris Aldrich (2002-12-02). The Aldrich Dictionary of Phobias and Other Word Families. Trafford Publishing. ISBN 1-55369-886-X.  







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