phobo-, phob-, -phobia, -phobias, -phobe, -phobiac, -phobist, -phobic, -phobism, -phobous

(Greek: fear, extreme fear of; morbid, excessive, irrational fear, or terror of something or someone; however, sometimes this Greek element also means a strong dislike, dread, or hatred for something or someone)


For more details about the various phobias, visit this Phobias Introduction page to see Phobia Variations Defined and Explained.

There are only two forces that unite men: fear and self-interest.

—Napoleon Bonparte
ablutophobia (s) (noun), ablutophobias (pl)
1. An obsessional fear of bathing: Activities based on ablutophobia may include avoidance of washing for long periods of time, an abnormal anxiety when even considering showering or when people are actually trying to clean themselves with water, and even their excessive dread when they see others who are washing.
2. A dread of water or of being seen in the nude: Some people who have ablutophobias are overly anxious that their bodies will be criticized or compared with those of others, while some simply have an abnormal fear of being in warm or cold water.

The ablutophobias which Susan's sister suffered from, included being terribly afraid of going near swimming pools.

ablutophobic (adjective), more ablutophobic, most ablutophbic
Descriptive of a person who has a persistent or abnormal anxiety of bathing or washing: The ablutophobic woman struggled and yelled at the hospital staff when they wanted her shower before the operation.

David's roommate at the university was ablutophobic which made living in the same room with him too difficult, so David made arrangements to move in with a non-ablutophobic student.

The psychiatry department at the hospital started a group program for ablutophobic individuals in hopes of generating a better solution for their psychological conditions.

Man has ablutophobia or a fear of bathing
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acarophobia (s) (noun), acarophobias (pl)
1. An excessive apprehension of skin infestation by mites or ticks: A person who is abnormally alarmed about getting head lice can be identified as suffering from acarophobia.
2. Fear of small objects, such as insects, worms, mites, and non-living things like needles and pins: Some people are so afraid of bugs and beetles that they seal off their windows, vacuum and sweep several times a day, and feel anxious outside their "cleansed" homes or apartments.
Scribe is running from bugs.
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There are over 2,000 different kinds of fleas, of the order Siphonaptera (the kind that live in hair or fur).

—Michael Andrews, The Life That Lives on Man
Taplinger Publishing Company; New York; 1976; page 106.
acarophobiac (s) (noun), acarophobiacs (pl)
Anyone who has an abnormal fear of mites, other small insects, or worms: Janet, being an acarophobiac, always seems to have an irrational dread of being bitten by tiny bugs of any kind.
acerbophobia (s) (noun), acerbophobias (pl)
An extreme anxiety about consuming sour or bitter tasting foods or liquids: Individuals who are affected by acerbophobia avoid eating anything that is even slightly unsavory or distasteful.
acerophobia (s) (noun), acerophobias (pl)
A term indicating an abnormal nervousness about having any sharp tasting edibles or liquids: Acerophobia is used for people who cannot tolerate foods which they consider to be rancid or stale.
achluophobia (s) (noun), achluophobias (pl)
A horror of being in the dark or existing in any unlighted areas: An achluophobia involves not going out at night, increased anxiety as evening approaches, not wanting to look outside the window in order to avoid seeing the nocturnal environment, avoidance of looking into dark rooms, and always having some kind of light available.
acidophobia (s) (noun), acidophobias (pl)
In botany, the intolerance of some plants to exist in acidic soils: The acidophobia of some flora means that they can only survive and grow in soil having some lime or by having fertilizers containing calcium and nitrogen.
acidophobic (adjective), more acidophobic, most acidophobic
A reference to plants which cannot grow in acidic situations: Examples of acidophobic vegetation include alfalfa and clover, which are grown for fodder.
acousticophobia (s) (noun) (no plural)
An uncommon and overly apprehensive concern about sounds: An elderly woman who had lived many years without any contact with friends, relatives, or other people, was overly sensitive to any noise that she did not cause, and so it is proper to assume that she had a condition known as acousticophobia!
acousticophobia (s) (noun), (no plural)
An extreme anxiety of hearing noises in general or specific noises or sounds: Bertha, who suffers from acousticophobia, reacts with fright to unusual or unexpected uproars because she feels as if her environment is completely out of control and she is unable to stop the frightening clamors.
Noise is a real problem.
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New York mayor started campaign to crack down on noise

  1. In the year 2002, the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, went after the noise makers.
  2. He announced a program to tackle the quality-of-life problem most vexing to New York residents: barking dogs, screeching car alarms, music blaring from cars, and drunken bar patrons who share their feelings with everyone on the block at 3 a.m.
  3. The initiative, known as "Operation Silent Night", was the city's most aggressive attack on noise since 1994.
  4. The operation was set up to focus on twenty-four neighborhoods that had been identified as among the noisiest, based on calls to the city's quality-of-life hot line.
  5. Tickets ranging from $5 to $25,000 for businesses with excessive noise complaints were to be issued: arrests, in the most extreme cases, might be made, and cars with blaring alarms were to be towed away.
—Compiled from information in
The New York Times by Jennifer Steinhauer;
as seen in the International Herald Tribune; October 4, 2002.
acridophobia (s) (noun), acridophobias (pl)
A great hatred of certain insects based on the vast amounts of destruction which are caused by such bugs: Acridophobia involves disastrous swarms of grasshoppers and locusts that are like gigantic-living tumbleweeds that roll onward, during which the forward edge descends to feed as others pass over-head, and those that are left behind rise up and rejoin the hoard as they move on to consume other areas of vegetation.
acridophobic (adjective), more acridophobic, most acridophobic
Relating to the hatred of grasshoppers and locusts which consume great areas of vegetation: Some farmers in the midwest of the U.S. have severe acridophobic feelings regarding the plagues that such grain eaters cause, especially those who have lost their crops because of such devastators.
acrophobia (s) (noun), acrophobias (pl)
An excessive discomfort of heights, elevators, climbing ladders, pinnacles, etc.; a dread of sharp points: Acrophobia is one of the most common fears among people.

Those who have acrophobia are afraid of being on high floors of buildings or even on the tops of hills or mountains and they often feel overly anxious when they approach the edge of bridges, rooftops, stairwells, and railings.

Sometimes individuals who are afflicted with acrophobia not only have an excessive fear, but they feel an uncontrollable urge to jump off.

There are some people who suffer from acrophobia and also have fantasies and physical sensations of falling even when they are standing on firm ground.

Those who are affected by acrophobia in moving platforms for people, or on escalators, balconies, and stairways are probably related to the fear of altitudes just as they are with the terror of flying in aircraft.

An abnormal dread of being high up.
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An excessive fear of being at a great height.
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Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
so you can see more of Mickey Bach's cartoons.

acrophobic (s) (noun), acrophobics (pl)
A person who has a strong feeling of panic when he or she is in high places of any kind: Linda discovered that she was an acrophobic after experiencing the breakdown of a glassed-in elevator which was located on the outside of a building.

An Acrophobic Shared His Experiences

  1. For one man, life was an unnerving affair.
  2. The "high anxiety" of a twenty-seven year old civil servant suffered from a condition that restricted both his personal and professional lifestyles.
  3. His walk-up apartment in the city where he lived was about six feet above ground level which he considered "safe" enough.
  4. He worked on the fourth floor of a downtown office building where he generally avoided windows.
  5. If he looked out, it was straight across at the windows of a neighboring building. He didn't dare look down at the hustle and bustle below.
  6. This phobic always walked the four floors, up and down, because the elevator was a "no-no" for him.
  7. His acrophobia made him avoid high rises, airplane rides, and car trips through mountainous areas.
  8. Jaunts to trendy penthouse restaurants were out, as were midway and cable car rides and such "in" sports as mountain climbing, sky-diving, and hang-gliding were obviously out of the question.
  9. "Height makes me light-headed. I start to tremble and talk reassuringly to myself. If I look down to the ground from a high place, I feel nauseous and want to vomit. I have an overwhelming urge to get out of there, just to get away."
  10. Although it meant personal sacrifice, this acrophobic learned to live with his phobia. "So far I've been able to get around it. I just don't go to high places. I can find alternate places to go, and other things to do."

Our work is never done. Millions upon millions of secret fears and phobias lurk known and unknown in high and low places of civilization that have yet to be, and must be, leached out of man's progress for his betterment.

—Dr. Andrew S. Zunotto, Psychiatrist.