One of the things they talked about yesterday on Word of Mouth on BBC Radio 4 was onomatophobhia, the fear or dread of certain words or phrases. They interviewed people who go out of their way to avoid hearing or seeing particular words, in most cases as a result of negative and/or traumatic associations with those words. There was also a man who finds it very difficult to say his own name for fear of mispronouncing it.
Like most phobia words, onomatophobia comes from Greek ὀνομα (onoma) – ‘name’ and φοβυς (phobus) – ‘fear’.
Are there any words that you avoid and/or dislike intensely?
There are many interesting phobias listed at thefreedictionary.com, including:
- Anatidaephobia – fear that somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you
- Luposlipaphobia – the fear of being pursued by timber wolves around a kitchen table while wearing socks on a newly-waxed floor.
Both were made up by Gary Larson for his The Far Side cartoons.