7 Weird Phobias You’ve Never Heard Of

Sure, most of us know arachnophobia (fear of spiders) and claustrophobia (fear of confined spaces), but what the about other, lesser known phobias? In honor of Halloween, here are some of the most niche fears one can have — along with their terrifying spellings.
October 15, 2018
7 Weird Phobias You’ve Never Heard Of

1. Chorophobia – Fear Of Dancing

Like the nerdy protagonist in a heartfelt teen movie, if you have chorophobia, you have an intense fear of dancing. As with many other weird phobias, this word is derived from Greek to create a fancier, more intimidating word. In this case, choro means “dance” (and phobia will always mean “fear”).

Unfortunately for sufferers of chorophobia, this is a very grim prognosis. Despite attempts at banning dancing in many religious groups, the human practice remains extremely popular. You’ll want to avoid any work parties, children’s playgrounds, public areas (since the invention of the “flash mob”), and most of the internet.

2. Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia – Fear Of Long Words

Ah, yes, the classic hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia. What list of phobias would be complete without it? Interestingly, the original word that was designated for this weird phobia was sesquipedalophobia, derived from the Latin sesqui, meaning “one and a half,” and pedal (from the Latin pedis), meaning “foot.” It was used in Roman poetry to refer to words “a foot and a half long.” (Whoever said the ancients didn’t have a great sense of humor?)

Regrettably, someone in the phobia-coining business evidently thought this wasn’t long enough. The element monstrum, meaning “monster” or “monstrous,” was added along with a misspelling of “hippopotamus” in order to strike fear into the hearts of hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobes everywhere.

3. Xanthophobia – Fear Of The Color Yellow

As with chorophobes, sufferers of xanthophobia certainly have a rough time day to day. They have to avoid emojis, taxis, sticky notes, lemons, and the sun, just to name a few vital objects. Worse yet, even the word “yellow” can be a hair-raising experience for many xanthophobes. Luckily, the etymology of this word is pretty straightforward, compared to some of the other weird phobias, as xanthos means “yellow” in Ancient Greek.

4. Metrophobia – Fear Of Poetry

At first glance, you might have thought that metrophobia was the fear of underground public transportation (which would make sense, because there’s a lot to be afraid of down there), but it’s actually the fear of poetry.

A quick Google search will tell you that this fear is surprisingly more common than you would’ve thought, so if you want to send a chill down the spine of your local metrophobe this Halloween, we recommend hanging some haikus around your door this holiday. If you want to raise the stakes, you could also try leaving around some open T. S. Elliot, Emily Dickinson, Maya Angelou or even Shakespeare!

5. Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia – Fear Of The Number 666

This is a terrifying word fitting of its evil backstory. People familiar with Christianity probably know that  hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia originates from the Book of Revelation, which details the supposed end of the world. In its original context, 666 is noted as the “mark of the Beast” (sounds very menacing), but now has broadly come to be associated with the Antichrist and even the Devil.

If you’re curious on how to break down this weird phobias’ downright ungodly spelling, it’s the Ancient Greek hexakosioi (six hundred) + hexekonta (sixty) + hex (six) +‎ phobiahexakosioihexekontahexaphobia.

6. Alektorophobia – Fear Of Chickens

Perhaps you’re thinking something along the lines of: “I can’t possibly imagine a less intimidating animal than a chicken,” but let me present you a few facts. Did you know that there are 25 billion chickens on the planet, making them the most populous bird species and outnumbering humans almost 3 to 1? Or that they are actually observational learners and can do simple arithmetic? Or even that there’s good evidence that chickens were originally domesticated for fighting and not food? Not so harmless after all.

7. Arachibutyrophobia – Fear Of Peanut Butter Sticking To The Roof Of Your Mouth

Naturally, we’ve saved the most realistic for last. A layman might confuse this for arachnophobia based on the similar spellings, but arachibutyrophobia is more than a simple fear of an eight-legged creepy crawler. Getting peanut butter stuck to the top of your mouth means risking looking like a dog trying to eat something when you are, in fact, a human being. It also could mean that you have texture issues with food or, worst-case scenario, you’re allergic to peanuts.

To break down this last phobia: Arachis is the Latin name for the plant genus that peanuts belong to, while butyrum is Latin for “butter.”

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Claire Larkin
Claire Larkin was born and raised in Arizona before jumping ship and moving to Berlin in 2017. While she studied political science and history in university, she now spends her time writing and editing for Babbel Magazine. In her free time, Claire likes to watch all kinds of science fiction, give astrology readings, and hoard wool to stay warm during German winters.
Claire Larkin was born and raised in Arizona before jumping ship and moving to Berlin in 2017. While she studied political science and history in university, she now spends her time writing and editing for Babbel Magazine. In her free time, Claire likes to watch all kinds of science fiction, give astrology readings, and hoard wool to stay warm during German winters.

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