How Many of These Weird Phobias Have You Heard Of?

They may sound absurd, but they're all completely real—and shockingly common.

By Reader's Digest Editors from Who? What? When? Where? Why?
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    State Library Archives of Florida

    Nomophobia

    For nomophobiacs, a phone is more than a cell; it's a prison. Nomophobia is the fear of being out of mobile phone.

    Martin SoulStealer, Wikimedia Commons

    Kinemortophobia

    Combining two popular anxieties—the fear of death and the taboo on cannibalism—Kinemortohobiacs can't stomach zombies. Did you guess this one? It's a no-brainer. (Ha.)

    Library of Congress

    Pogonophobia

    That toddler sitting on Santa's lap isn't freaking out over the stranger hugging her; she may have Pogonophobia, the fear of beards. No wonder TV villains are always stroking theirs.

    Nationaal Archief / Spaarnestad Photo

    Somniphobia

    The phobia that will keep you up at night, Somniphobia is the fear of sleep. If you have it, avoid: sheep-related math, warm milk, NPR pledge drives.

    national Archief, Flickr Commons

    Neophobia

    Most people feel anxiety over major life changes. Severe neophobiacs might feel the same way over changing their underwear. Neophobia is the fear of new things and experiences.

    SDASM Archives

    Kakorrhaphiaphobia

    Hate losing? You've got Kakorrhaphiaphobia: the fear of failure. Aww. Have we told you how smart and pretty you are?

    National Postal Museum

    Ataxophobia

    Has anyone ever called you "OCD"? Are you vacuuming crumbs out of your keyboard right now? You may have Ataxophobia: the fear of disorder.

    Miami University Library, Flickr Commons

    Hippopoto- monstro- sesquippedaliophobia

    Proving linguists can be real jerks, this very long word refers to the fear of very long words. If you have it, steer clear of James Joyce, chemistry, and telling people what your phobia is called.

    State Library Queensland, Flickr Commons

    Metrophobia

    If you have metrophobia, your favorite love poem might sound like this: "Roses are terrifying. Violets are terrifying. Sugar is terrifying. I hate poems." Metrophobia is the fear of poetry.

    Fox Photos, Flickr Commons

    Arachibutyrophobia

    Do you avoid PB&J sammies? You may suffer Arachibutyrophobia—the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth. Not applicable to dogs.

    Flickr Commons

    Phobophobia

    Do you dread dread? Does anxiety make you anxious? If yes, you likely have Phobophobia: the fear of fear itself.  Seek professional therapy, or a beach chair in the Bahamas.

    Powerhouse Museum, Flickr Commons

    Genuphobia

    If you had your way, it would be trousers and maxi skirts for everyone! Genuphobia is the fear of knees.

    Nickolas Muray, Flickr Commons

    Linonophobia

    Would you sooner go nude than sew up a hole in your clothes? You may suffer linonophobia: the fear of string.

    LSE Library, Flickr Commons

    Geliophobia

    This phobia is no joke.... Geliophobia is the fear of laughter. Sufferers should seek relief by paging through Reader's Digest one joke at a time.

    Spaarnestad Photo, Flickr Commons

    Aulophobia

    One summer, in band camp, Aulophobia was the fear of flutes.

    Smithsonian Institution, Flickr Commons

    Xanthophobia

    It's not all sunshine if you have this weird phobia: Xanthophobia is the fear of the color yellow.

    Waldo Schmitt, Flickr Commons

    Ostraconophobia

    Ostraconophobia is the fear of shellfish, which is an especially hard phobia if one's first name is "Chef" or "Long John."

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