Monday, 11 October 2010


You can click on the list below here. Funny. Sort of.

Types Of Phobia

Got into an interesting discussion on a website the other day. The word, 'Homophobia' came under discussion. (Gives you some sort of idea of the blogs I subscribe to, dunnit? All 'gays' and 'filth'!)

I looked it up in my American Heritage Dictionary and got this:
1: Aversion to gay or homosexual people or their lifestyle or culture.
2: Behaviour or an act based on this aversion.

No mention of 'fear' there. This was pointed out to me by another blogger who gave me this definition:

A phobia is “a fear, aversion or hatred, esp. morbid and irrational. – ‘phobe’ in composition, one who has a (specified) phobia.” (‘Chambers 20th Century Dictionary’).

I agree this definition of 'phobia' is more accurate. And, by extension, we must add 'fear' to homophobia.

But the interesting little word here is 'esp'. It has me thinking. Are all phobias irrational and/or morbid? From the 'esp' it seems clear that that very possibly some phobias are neither. But which?

The web site at tagged the beginning here is remarkable. It lists literally hundreds of what it describes as phobias. For myself, I would have no trouble in putting 'Melophobia' in the 'irrational' camp as it is a fear of music. But, had it been a fear of being made to watch movies produced by Mr. Gibson, it would surely occupy the 'rational' slot.

Is it irrational to be frightened of spiders (Arachnophobia)? Is it rational to be afraid of simply walking (Ambulophobia)?

And, where does that leave us regarding Arachibutyrophobia, (Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth.) eh?

Out of mere curiosity, I checked to see if there was a word for fear of Catholics. Naturally not - except for Catapedaphobia, (Fear of jumping from high and low places) which is quite close, as you will agree, especially the second part...

Then I found 'bufonophobia' which turns out not to be a fear of buffoons, which would be entirely rational, but a fear of toads. A totally irrational fear without a doubt. How could one hate and fear a toad? You might as well hate and fear Noel Coward!

The list is so wonderful that I will simply regale you with the last four; all Zeds (or for Americans, Zees) with special reference to the penultimate.

Zelophobia - Fear of jealousy.
Zeusophobia - Fear of God or gods.
Zemmiphobia - Fear of the great mole rat.
Zoophobia - Fear of animals.

How can it possibly be irrational to fear The Great Mole Rat?
I suspect this is a question we will each have to figure out for ourselves.
But that will be difficult if we happen to suffer from phronemophobia (Fear of thinking).


Kiwi Nomad 2008 said...

Oh my goodness, there is a name for my phobia- climacophobia. Ever since I broke my arm I have had a fear of falling down stairs!!!! (And no, I didn't break it by falling down stairs.....)

FrereRabit said...

It's a pity bufonophobia turns out not to be a fear of buffoons. I would hate to think there is no word to describe such a phobia.

I wonder if there is a word for a fear of the imminent collapse of a fragile aqueducts while edging along a precipice over a ravine while trying to sort out an irrigation blockage? cf

Caroline said...

Phobophobia. I would have invented the word myself if someone else hadn't already done so. Please sir, can we have some more?