Wednesday Words: Fun with Phobias

I should state at the outset that if you have a phobia, it isn’t fun.  I know someone who has ranidaphobia, and the one time a frog got into her house, it was not pleasant.

Having said that, the names assigned to phobias are super-fun!

Thanks to, I checked out quite a few of them. Some deserve awards for being especially tantalizing or tangling to one’s tongue!  Here are some of my discoveries.

Most Useful Phobias

I’m planning to claim these phobias as the mood strikes:

Acousticophobia – Let’s say I’ve been invited (Heaven forbid!) to a three-hour Chuck E. Cheese party with 20 four year olds.  I suddenly have acousticophobia, the fear of noise.  My husband will have to take our excited preschooler to the shindig while I find ear plugs and take a nap.

Mageirocophobia – If I can find a way to fake mageirocophobia, I’m all over it.  I wouldn’t have to spend another minute contemplating, “What should I make for dinner?”, making meal plans, shopping for ingredients, or trying to get four items in and out of slow cookers, pans, pots, ovens, microwaves, and stoves to present food to the incredibly picky foursome called my family whose usual response is something like, “What’s in this?”  After all, I have a legitimate fear of cooking.  Time for take-out.

Allodoxaphobia – Don’t tell me anymore what you think; I have a fear of opinions.

Ephebiphobia – Having just entered the teen years with one son and eyeing the inevitable aging of my second son, I am dreading those years where hormones and peer pressure overtake sweetness and reason.  I must have a fear of teenagers.

Decidophobia – I wasn’t sure whether to include this one.  Maybe I should, maybe not.  What do you think?  You see, I have a fear of making decisions.

Kid-Friendly Phobias

Here are a few that my children – or most children – seem to have:

Clinophobia.  If my children knew the name for this, they would claim it every night around 9:00 p.m.  It’s the fear of going to bed.

Hypengyophobia (or Hypegiaphobia) – “My brother did it!”  “Don’t give me chores!”  “I hate homework!” Our children all seem to have hypengyophobia, or the fear of responsibility.

Testophobia – I think this one speaks for itself.  Especially in Texas around TAKS time (What’s your state’s student accountability exam called?).  It’s the fear of taking tests.

Scolionophobia – Perhaps my sister had this.  That might explain the class-skipping while we were growing up.  Somehow, I doubt my parents would have accepted a diagnosis of scolionophobia, the fear of school.

Lachanophobia – “No! No! I can’t stand broccoli! Please don’t make me eat it!”  If your child has a nervous breakdown at the very mention of broccoli, asparagus, spinach, and the like, perhaps he has a fear of vegetables.  Interestingly enough, I couldn’t find a fear of ice cream.

Don’t We All Have These Phobias

Phobias are supposed to rise to the level of being paralyzed in the face of the fear.  If that’s true, we all need mental health help for these:

Rhytiphobia – Fear of getting wrinkles.  Get them off my face now!

Politicophobia – Fear or abnormal dislike of politicians.  Oh great, and the 2012 election is right around the corner.

Family-Related Phobias

Apparently, there is a widespread amount of fear related to family.  There are names for these things.  Claim the one that applies to you!

Pentheraphobia – Fear of mother-in-law.

Soceraphobia – Fear of parents-in-law.

Vitricophobia – Fear of step-father.

Novercaphobia – Fear of step-mother.

Syngenesophobia – Fear of relatives.

I guess your own parents and siblings aren’t scary enough to get phobia names.

Who Has These Phobias

A fear must occur often enough to warrant scientific naming.  If I’m the only one who has an irrational fear of belly button lint, then it doesn’t require a diagnostic label.   And yet, the following have been named!  How many people out there have these?

Automatonophobia – Fear of ventriloquist’s dummies, animatronic creatures, wax statues; anything that falsely represents a sentient being.  So much for Disney World or Madame Tussauds Wax Museum!

Blennophobia – Fear of slime.  I guess Ghostbusters won’t be in their Netflix queue.

Chaetophobia – Fear of hair.  That one has to be particularly hard to avoid.

Consecotaleophobia – Fear of chopsticks.  Stay away from Panda Express, Pei Wei, and P.F. Chang’s!

Dextrophobia – Fear of objects at the right side of the body.  Does that include your own arm?

Genuphobia – Fear of knees.  Well, some people’s knees are a little frightening.

Hellenologophobia – Fear of Greek terms or complex scientific terminology.  This makes the scientific naming of this phobia even odder.

Levophobia – Fear of things to the left side of the body.  The dextrophobics and levophobics could have a support group, but seating arrangements would be difficult.

Omphalophobia – Fear of belly buttons.  Oh, here it is!  It isn’t lint.  Just belly buttons generally!

Peladophobia – Fear of bald people.  Is this due to a bad episode of Kojak or your uncle’s toupee falling into the family reunion punch bowl when you were a child?

Pteronophobia – Fear of being tickled by feathers.  Wouldn’t you think “fear of being tickled” would be sufficient?  Must it be feathers?

Triskaidekaphobia – Fear of the number 13.  It would be way too easy to taunt this guy in high school algebra class.

Xanthophobia – Fear of the color yellow or the word yellow.  So I guess no Golden Arches for these people.

Impossible to Pronounce Phobias

Try saying these three times fast!

Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia – Fear of the number 666.  I get it, demons and all.  But what happens if they see 999?  Are they okay with that?

Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia – Fear of long words.  Okay, that’s funny.  This phobia sufferer can’t possibly say her own diagnosis without freaking!

Cat Phobias

Finally, may I say that you dog lovers have completely taken over the world!  Really?  Must there be at least five separate names for a fear of cats?  The feline fearful can take their pick:






Do you have any phobias?  Have you encountered others with phobias?  Which phobia names do you like?  What phobias do you need to name and claim? 

Amusing with Accents

The Beatles at Kennedy Airport, by United Press International [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
I admit to doing accents in front of my kids. I’m rough with some of them, but I try every one I can think of. If we’re listening to a Beatles song, why not deliver my own impression of Paul McCartney? If I’m giving orders, why not shout them like a German commander? If I’m inviting my kid to hang out with me, why not go linguistically Down Under with my “mates”?

I have a fairly good ear for accents and dialects. I also love hearing the fluctuations, intonations, and variations when people from other areas speak. There was a book agent at a conference I recently attended who was on a forum panel. She spoke eloquently about her field, but frankly she could have been giving recipe instructions and I would have loved for her to hog the microphone. She had a South African accent. It was beautifully rich. And it’s an accent I haven’t mastered.

I don’t speak any foreign languages. (Well, I speak Texan–which I understand is a whole other language.) But one time, when I was crooning through a conversation in a French accent, my son asked, “So can you speak like that because you learned French in school?” I had to admit to him that everything I knew about doing a French accent, I’d learned from Inspector Clouseau and Pepé LePew.

Pepe LePew

Maybe you can learn from other people who do this well. One of my personal favorites was Steve Landesberg, known to me for playing Detective Sergeant Arthur Dietrich in the old TV show Barney Miller. He could mimic an amazing number of accents. I’ve picked up a few tips from watching him and others.

There are plenty of accents you can attempt. The Linguistic Society of America cites the most accurate count of languages in the world at over 6,800. Think about that! (And here I am just trying to get my book published in English!) That doesn’t even take into account that people from Toronto; Dublin; Melbourne; Hattiesburg, Mississippi; Atlanta, Georgia; Midland, Texas; Queens, New York; and Boston, Massachusetts are all speaking the same language, but it sure doesn’t sound the same!

I don’t know how to teach anybody to do accents, although my younger son picks them up pretty well and tries them out on his friends at school. His current specialty is Australian. In fact, we recently discovered that “cobber” is another word for an Aussie male friend, so we’ve added it to our repertoire.

Is anyone else doing the same thing? Trying on accents from other regions or countries? What are your favorites? I’d like to know.

While waiting for responses, I think I’ll go watch an episode of Star Wars. I need to work on my Wookie.

Round of Words in 80 Days update:  4,729 of 5,000 words written for the week; 271 more to go!