Top 25 Weirdest Phobias in the World

Phobia is, as described by the Oxford Dictionary, a strong unreasonable fear of something. It is an integral part of the discipline that is clinical psychiatry and, while it extends to fear of “normal” objects and concepts such as fear of fire, congested spaces, heights etc, sometimes they can be befuddling and irrational such as the fear of the Pope or the fear that a vigilant duck is constantly watching you from some faraway corner of this world. The reader is hereby presented with a list comprised of the most  hilariously nonsensical of them all:

25. Papaphobia

Pope Francis smiles during an audience for Christmas greetings to the Curia in the Clementina hall at the Vatican December 21, 2013. REUTERS/Claudio Peri/Pool (VATICAN - Tags: RELIGION HEADSHOT)

Papaphobia is an intense fear of the pope and the church. This is not a person you will ever come across at Vatican City (provided one can afford to be at Vatican City in the first place). This might not be the fear of the pope so much as it is the fear of the position that the Pope holds.

24. Deipnophobia


Deipnophobia is the fear of dinner table conversations. Although it seems slightly bizarre, it is my personal belief that most of us, at some point or another have felt this or continue to feel this. Imagine, having to sit down at dinner with a group of people you do not know, people with whom you have nothing in common, and it is your responsibility to entertain them and to keep the conversation afloat with a polite smile, when all you want to do is concentrate on the food and leave the conversation to fend for itself. It is, to put it simply, horrifying.

23. Venustraphobia


This phobia is the fear of beautiful women, and it manifests itself in a variety of ways such as crippling social anxiety, loss of speech, if one finds oneself in the presence of an attractive woman or women. This phobia is the perfect example of how society constructs and tends to dictate one’s expressions and actions based on one’s biological sex with respect to the other. It is also a cornerstone for the existence and perpetuation of toxic hyper masculinity. This phobia is a synonym for the self-imposed stigmatisation faced by those who strive to enact their traditional gender role.

22. Turophobia


Cheese has played, throughout the ages, through literature and countless anecdotes, extremely diverse and sometimes obnoxious (no pun intended) roles in pop culture. It does not need saying that some kinds of cheese, based on their bacterial strains, do smell particularly unsavoury. Those suffering from turophobia display various symptoms such as cold sweats, retching, nausea etc at the sight of cheese and its form itself. The phobia also extends to aversion to the word itself, along with its homophones.

21. Optophobia


People usually lose their eyesight due to diseases, accidents, trauma, which is to say that a loss of sight isn’t normally self-inflicted, or voluntary. Optophobia constitutes and means just the opposite, that is, the inability to open one’s eyes. It is said that the condition is induced by exposure to past trauma, quite severe in nature. This phobia also leads one to lead a secluded, solitary life, confined to darkness.

20. Syphilophobia


This one is self-explanatory, that is, the fear of the condition known as syphilis, a Sexually Transmitted Disease (S.T.D). It is only logical to assume that the person suffering from this condition would be naturally inclined to practise safe sex.

19. Blennophobia


Denoted by the fear of slime, Blennophobia seems to be an integral part of the daily life of the typically neurotic. Who would, in their senses, want to be in affinity of muck, or mud, or would be indifferent to it? Seems to be pretty intuitive.

18. Didaskaleinophobia


Now this is getting plain hilarious. Didaskaleinophobia indicates the fear of attending classes. Parents over the world might want to keep this information away from their charges.

19. Hellenologophobia


As ironic as it can get, Hellenologophobia denotes the anxiety towards convoluted, technical, sometimes Greek, lexicon. People suffering from this condition are not encouraged to peruse this article.

18. Sesquipedalophobia


At the risk of inducing befuddlement and being perceived as repeating oneself, Sesquipedalophobia, also referred to as Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia (the irony is strong in this one), signifies the fear of long, obfuscating words. Symptoms include, but are not limited to difficulty to breath, hyperventilation, nausea, ventricular fibrillation, and loss of speech. Again, at the risk of repeating oneself, people diagnosed with this condition are not advised to go through this article.

17. Porphyrophobia


This condition will dismay anyone interested in Alice Walker’s literature, probably Alice Walker herself more than anybody else. It denotes a fear of the colour purple. One can also deduce that people associating themselves with monarchy, with the royalty, (or with revolutions, going by the literature of Guy de Maupassant) would not be particularly appealed with the condition of Porphyrophobia.

16. Rhypophobia


Rhypophobia denotes the fear and extreme disgust at the act of defecation and excrement. It’s commonly known as an integral nature of the neurotic, abhorring all that resides inside our body, and is ejected.

15. Arithmophobia


As the name suggests this phobia consists of an almost crippling fear of numbers. The mass aversion towards Math and numbers when one is at school, that teachers often interpret as laziness and reluctance to practice math, may not be just that. It is possible that one might, in all possibility, be suffering from this phobia.

14. Genuphobia


As human anatomy warrants, our legs, and in association with them our knees, are instrumental for the act of locomotion. Hence, the condition of genuphobia is quite counter-intuitive to those not suffering from it, that is fear of knees. It consists of a deep reluctance in touching one’s knees or having one’s knees touched. One is unable to view knees without experiencing a panic attack.

13. Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia


The numerical figure of 666 is deeply entrenched in Christian mythos as the number of the Beast. In pop culture 666 is referred to and associated with the figure of Satan. Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia, denoting the fear towards the number 666 is thus specific to a predominant expression and practice of culture and religion which human beings inhabit.

12. Anuptaphobia


This is a fear that almost every mainstream romantic films perpetrate. This is the fear of being single. There is also a deep social stigma which exists in but not limited to one’s peer group, family and possibly, and workplace colleagues, which further perpetuates this fear-be it concerned relatives asking pointed questions about one’s significant other or friends constantly inquiring about the state of one’s love-life.

11. Alliumphobia


Alliumphobia denotes an intense fear of garlic. This condition, just like some others on this list, is related to an object not having any significance by its own, but developing a certain meaning through practices and beliefs in human culture. Thus, the garlic having the connotation of being a ward against another social and mythological construct, that of Count Dracula.

10. Coulrophobia


The figure of the clown in today’s popular culture is diametrically opposite to the original historical essence of the work it represents. It is on that cultural distortion of a motif that Coulrophobia is based on, that is the extreme fear towards clowns.

9. Sinistrophobia


Amongst the most widely discursive ideas throughout human history the form of the Left has a prominent place- ranging from the notion of the Left originating from the European House of Commons, to today’s infinitely diverging interpretations of the same, to just signifying the opposite to right. Thus, Sinistrophobia, denoting the fear towards (the) left, has extensive plurality in its meaning.

8. Philophobia


A curious word in itself, Philophobia signifies Phobia towards Philia, that is, hatred and fear towards love and affection. It is an excruciatingly clear indicator of the state of our material condition, of our society, where a disciplinary term is required to express the deep-seated anxiety and doubt of the everyman, to express love, to wanting involvement, with another human being.

7. Paraskavedekatriaphobia


As is the case with 666, Paraskavedekatriaphobia is related with the fear of another Eurocentric, Christian concept- that of Friday the 13th. Historically, it manifested itself not a phobia, not as a psychiatric notion, but as widespread superstition throughout the ‘enlightened’ Western society.

6. Nomophobia


Signifying the fears and insecurities heralded by this age of information and telecommunication, Nomophobia denotes the paralysing fear of losing one’s cellphone contacts.

5. Heliphobia


Denoting the fear of sunlight, Heliphobia seems a pretty inconveniencing condition, effectively isolating the sufferer from the world outside the confine of four walls.

4. Asymmetriphobia


Apparently coined as a ‘phobia, Asymmetriphobia, that is, fear of the lack of symmetry, is a predominant trait for the neurotic, obsessive-compulsive person, who, by nature, aspires towards symmetry.

3. Basiphobia


By definition a seriously debilitating condition, Basiphobia connotes the fear of falling down while walking or standing.

2. Anatidaephobia


Probably the most bizarre fear in this meticulously crafted compilation, Anatidaephobia denotes the fear that wherever one is, whenever the time is, a duck is watching someone from a remote, unknowable corner of the earth.

1. Phobophobia


The most metastructural entry in this list, Phobophobia denotes the fear of fearing. It correlates the abject fear of any kind of Phobia, of any kind. People with any kind of pre-existing phobias can develop Phobophobia, the ultimate culmination of a cycle of fear and anxiety, and the fear and anxiety induced by the prospect of another episode of a panic attack caused by that pre-existing phobia.


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