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Fearing the Worst: 10 Most Unusual Phobias

  • SumoMe

A round up of the ten strangest phobias and their etymology. Find great conversation starters here.

#1: Haphephobia

What it is: A morbid fear of being touched.

Origin: Haptein is a Greek word that means to fasten (that is, to bring two things together).

Did you know: Haptics is the English word for “a science concerned with the sense of touch,” used in technologies like touch-screen displays that let users feel clicks.

#2: Doraphobia

What it is: The dread of touching the skin or fur of an animal.

Origin: The Greek word dora means “the skin or hide of an animal.”

Did you know: The root word dora comes from the Greek verb derein, meaning “to skin or to flay.” This is also the source of derm, the Greek word for skin, which shows up in words like “dermatology”.

#3: Eremophobia

What it is: The morbid dread of being alone.

Origin: The Greek word erēmia means desert (a place where there are no other people).

Did you know: The word hermit shares the same Greek root, but a hermit may find solace rather than dread in solitude.

#4: Ergophobia

What it is: A fear of or aversion to work.

Origin: Ergon is the Greek word for work.

Did you know: This word shows a family resemblance to the words ergonomic and ergometer.

#5: Hypnophobia

What it is: The morbid fear of sleep.

Origin: Hypnos is the Greek word for sleep.

Did you know: Hypnotize is a word that shares the same Greek roots.

#6: Brontophobia

What it is: An abnormal fear of thunder.

Origin: Bronto is from the Greek word that means thunder.

Did you know: The same root gives us the name of the brontosaurus (literally, “thunder lizard”).

#7: Kakorrhaphiophobia

What it is: An abnormal fear of failure.

Origin: The Greek word kakorrhaphia means a clever or devious plot or plan, derived from kakos, meaning bad or evil.

Did you know: The English word cacophony shares the same Greek roots.

#8: Ophidiophobia

What it is: An abnormal fear of snakes.

Origin: Ophis is the Greek word for snake.

Did you know: Two other English words with similar roots are ophiomorphic, meaning “snakelike in form” and ophiophagous, which means “feeding on snakes.”

#9: Taphephobia

What it is: Fear of being buried alive.

Origin: The Greek word taphē means burial or grave.

Did you know: You can see the same Greek root in the English word epitaph (an inscription on a tomb).

#10: Phobophobia

What it is: An excessive fear of acquiring a phobia.

Origin: The Greek word phobos means “fear or flight.”

Did you know: When there’s nothing left to fear but fear itself, this word is the perfect double whammy of the Greek word for fear.

via Merriam-Webster Online

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