*   *   *   *
  LOGOLOG
a weblog of wordplay by Eric Harshbarger

Phobias

Another alphabetic challenge I sent for myself years ago (probably on some rainy afternoon) was to try to find a "phobia" for each letter of the alphabet. Wordplay often reflects something more than just a fascination with letters and language; it can represent a fascination with patterns (and maybe a compulsive need to make lists? [grin]).

The Phobia-list is one such example. Why would a kid be at all interested in finding various -phobia words? I wasn't particularly frightened as a child. I had no irrational fears. No, I just realized that every so often I would learn a new word, and that new word ended in an odd pattern that I had heard in some other words: "pho-bi-a".

And if the pattern was formed by the common ending, then what did all of those beginnings mean? Well, there were patterns there too. The "hemo-" in HEMOPHOBIA was obviously the same "hemo-" from "hemotology" and "hemophiliac" (both words there also had suffixes which formed recognized patterns with a slew of other words -- I was beginning to look at all of these words not as single units, but structures built from blocks of language).

Anyway, at some point, all of those years ago, I started to jot down the phobias I'd hear about, look up what the associated prefixes meant, and then wonder, "is there one for every letter of the alphabet?" (this question probably first popped into my head when hearing of XENOPHOBIA which started with that oh, so, very uncommon letter "X").

My list from way back then was far from complete:

PHOBIA                  "Fear of..."
-------------------------------------------------
Acrophobia              heights
Bibliophobia            books
Claustraphobia          enclosed or narrow places
D
Erythrophobia           the color red
Francophobia            French people or things
Gynephobia              women
Hemophobia              blood
I
J
K
Lyssophobia             going insane
Mysophobia              dirt, filth
Necrophobia             death, dead bodies
Ochlophobia             crowds
Photophobia             light
Q
Russophobia             Russian people and things
Sitophobia              food
Triskaidekaphobia       the number 13
U
V
W
Xenophobia              foreigners or strangers
Y
Zoophobia               animals
The phobia list was also very intriguing simply because of the oddness of some of the found words and associated afflictions. Were there really people afraid of books? or of trains (SIDERODROMOPHOBIA)? As a kid I could understand BRONTOPHOBIA (fear of thunder and lightning), but some of these words hinted at a world of people I was complete unfamiliar with.

Evidently I'm not the only one who set himself with this logological task. Today, on the internet you can find the Phobia List which is maintained by a fellow who has obviously dedicated more of his time to this particular venture than I have. He lacks a Q-phobia and, amazingly (I think), a Y-phobia. Still, his tremedous list is impressive, and one has to wonder if we, as a society, are not, in fact, a little too eager to dwell in our fears...

Hmmm. That would be a another discussion for another weblog.

-- Eric

[13 December 2005]
   
LOGOLOG


Archive
 Pseudo-palind...2
 Box Office Cu...
 All In A Row
 Redividers
 Chemical Symb...1
 Over 636 Pali...2
 Omino Font
 Front Hook: S
 History of Bo...1
 Front Hook: R
 Well, Moviego...4
 Front Hook: Q
 Front Hook: P
 Front Hook: O
 Front Hook: N1
 Front Hook: M
 Front Hook: L
 Front Hook: K
 Front Hook: J1
 Front Hook: I2
 Front Hook: H4
 Front Hook: G3
 Front Hook: F
 Front Hook: E
 Front Hook: D
 Front Hook: C
 Front Hook: B1
 Front Hook: A
 Multiple Solu...1
 And The Nomin...
 I want a cut ...2
 Stew-word-shi...1
 Scrabble Play...
 The answer is...2
 Pangrams and ...
 Pangrams and ...
 Secret Weapon...
 Colorful Citi...2
 Song, Song, S...2
 Near-Pangramm...2
 Favorite Numb...3
 Periodic Tabl...1
 Body Of Music...
 Filmed In Tec...3
 Cryptic Femal...1
 Colorful Film...1
 Elemental Bod...5
 Ambigrams Rev...1
 Calculated Wo...2
 Teacher Torto...2
 True Story
 Polly-Gone
 Sending My Re...
 A-B-C-D-ary1
 Word Dice3
 That Does It!3
 Lexomino Puzz...
 Morse Code Pa...3
 Bringing Ingo...7
 NIN
 Dot, Dot, Das...2
 Repeated lett...3
 Palindromic P...3
 Palindromic P...
 Sick Pun4
 Typesetting 2...2
 Heterogrammic...5
 Plurals1
 Phoneys1
 What is a "wo...
 Hollywood Nam...
 Front Hooks
 Half Price
 Through The 7...
 W4...1
 ;
 Bourne To Run4
 DVDs2
 V for Very Di...
 Scrabble: Ash...
 Scrabble, red...1
 A=1, B=2, C=32
 4 Sides To Ev...4
 Periodic Tabl...2
 BIVOUAC4
 String of Mov...3
 Where's Winsl...4
 para-palindro...4
 pun
 Standardized ...2
 Unintended Am...1
 Web Too Dah T...1
 Backronym2
 Fishy
 Too clever by...4
 Another wordy...
 Commercialize...1
 Beyond BOOKKE...5
 Not Positive ...11
 Scrabble Tabl...2
 Puzzle1
 Negativity
 Lightning1
 Another Pan-v...1
 Not So Frugal
 Not So Funny ...1
 Memory of GAM...5
 Musical Wordp...
 830
 Funny1
 Chemical Abbr...1
 Movie Rebuses7
 Television Sh...1
 Even More Het...
 More Heterogr...3
 Oooooo...2
 Those crazy H...2
 NFL4
 Wordmonger2
 Alli says, "A...
 A Puzzling St...3
 THE MAD ANAGR...4
 Synonymous Co...1
 CARNELIOUS3
 -und2
 Batteries2
 Names13
 Rubik Font3
 Under A Spell
 State The Rea...2
 7x7 Scrabble ...
 7x7 Scrabble ...
 Scrabble Squa...4
 Tube Maps2
 GAMES Magazin...
 Superbowl: ST...
 Letter Shifti...1
 Projects of L...
 Slices of PI,...
 Slices of PI,...
 Heterogrammic...
 QWERTY vs. Dv...2
 Word Chemistr...
 Heterogrammic...
 Pangrammic Cr...1
 Comments for ...
 Ambigrams
 Alphabet Soup3
 Logo
 Alpha-Pangram...
 Book List
 Scrabble Tile...
 D'oh!
 Letter Shifti...
 Palindromes
 Pangrammic Cr...
 Phobias1
 Pentominoes
 Word Searchin...
 Welcome1

 
*   *
*   *
 
Comments about this article:
I believe the reason a valid entry for 'Q' and 'Y' have not been found is due to the naming convention, using Greek words, and that too few valid words begin with those letters.

http://www.phobialist.com/phobia_names.html mentions the Greek word naming convention.

The only option I've found for 'Y' is:

yotta- [YAH tuh or maybe YOH tuh] (Greek: from octo-, “eight”; a decimal prefix used in the international metric system for measurements)

But fear of a decimal prefix in the metric system seems even less common than the recognized Trichinophobia - Fear of trichinosis.

Posted by: Aaron Sneary


 
*   *
*   *
 
Leave a comment on LOGOLOG about the article: Phobias
Your Name:  
Your URL:   

Your comment (HTML tags will be removed):


Day of week today is:   


 
*   *
*   *
 
Copyright © 2005 - 2005, Eric C. Harshbarger
 
*   * *   *