back to article Why can't we agree on the names for phobias?

Also in this week's column: What makes a wound stop bleeding? Why are opera singers fat? Why don't humans molt? Why can't we agree on the names for phobias? Asked by Anka Saarinen of Helsinki, Finland The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) of the American Psychiatric Association is the main …


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  1. James Cure

    Where is the answer?

    While it is interesting to realize how many names common phobias have your answer is totally inane. Instead of rambling on definitions and names this short line would have sufficed:

    "Yet for reasons unknown, the mental health profession cannot agree on the term to be used for many of the most common phobias."

  2. Sam Penny

    Latin / Greek

    Most of the names can be thrown out as nasty bilingual cut/shuts, anything that starts with a latin-derived word and ends with the greek "phobia" suffix, ought to be replaced entirely with the greek equivalent, if one can be found. (Aquaphobia,Felinophobia,

    Several others appear to mean something entirely different from others that you've called them synonymous to. E.g. verminophobia presumably has to do with vermin, rather than dirtyness per se. Bathophobia, meanwhile, I think ought to be fear of *depth* rather than height?

    When there are multiple forms of essentially the same word (Eremiophobia, Eremophobia for example) presumably somebody who knows greek better than I would be able to give a reasonable opinion on which form would make more sense.

    Perhaps the lists could be shortened somewhat by applying these filters.

    I'm also entirely unimpressed by one that I see bandied around all over the place "hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia" which is clearly the entirely reasonable "sesquipedalophobia" with "horse monster" prepended for no reason other to make it more "ammusing"

    ho ho ho indeed.

    Cheers & God bless

    Sam "SammyTheSnake" Penny



    "Hydrophobia, Hydrophobophobia"

    Hmmm... wouldn't 'Hydrophobophobia' be 'fear of being afraid of water'? Or 'fear of Hydrophobes'?

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