35 Weird Phobias You Never Knew Existed
Who knew a PB&J could cause so much anxiety?
Arachibutyrophobia: Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth
Marie C Fields/Shutterstock
It’s an uncomfortable feeling for everyone, but the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth is one of those full-blown weird phobias for some. Some people can handle eating small amounts, but others avoid peanut-based products like peanut butter sauces and ice creams. It can be rooted in a broader phobia, like the fear of sticky textures or choking, or it can occur independently. If you think a fear of peanut butter sounds weird, you’ll be really freaked out by these 46 weird facts that most people don’t know.
Alliumphobia: Fear of garlic
Your favorite garlic bread recipe could cause a panic attack for someone with an extraordinary fear of garlic. Far from a dislike of the potent vegetable’s taste, people with alliumphobia might start to shake or feel unable to breathe when around garlic or other pungent plants like onions and chives. Perhaps focusing on its health benefits could help; a compound in garlic may have powerful anti-inflammatory effects, according to a 2015 study in a 2015 issue of the Journal of Immunology Research.
Phobophobia: Fear of having a phobiaDMITRII SIMAKOV/Shutterstock
Unfortunately, people with this condition are fighting a losing battle: the fear of acquiring a phobia. It’s likely they probably wouldn’t want to learn more about phobias, but if you do, check out what your fears say about your personality.
Sesquipedalophobia: Fear of long words
Beware: If you have sesquipedalophobia, you might not want to hear your diagnosis. With twisted irony, it is the morbid fear of long words.
Ablutophobia: Fear of bathing and cleaning
Cut some slack to that odd-smelling person in line ahead of you—she might have a fear of bathing and cleaning. This is one of those weird phobias that can stem from a traumatic past event, and can lead to social isolation. Even if you’re not fearful of showers, you still need to exercise caution; the National Safety Council suggests adding grab bars in showers to reduce the risk of slipping and falling.
Dextrophobia: Fear of having objects to your right
With a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, some people can’t stand to have objects at the right side of their body, which could make it hard to drive in the fast lane with vehicles to the right. On the flip side, levophobia is defined by fear of things to the left side of the body. If you’re intrigued by this, you’ll enjoy learning more about why some people are right-brained and others are left-brained.
Siderophobia: Fear of stars
You might enjoy stargazing on a clear night, but not everyone gets that same awe-inspiring feeling. Those with siderophobia have a fear of stars, and might keep their curtains closed to avoid getting overwhelmed by how vast and uncontrollable the universe is.
Arithmophobia: Fear of numbers
For some people, a fear of numbers goes beyond frustrations over solving equations and understanding geometry. People with arithmophobia have an irrational fear of numbers in general.
Logophobia: Fear of reading (or learning how)
People with the fear of words function fine in conversation, but when shown written words, they could become breathless, shaky, or paranoid. Most people with logophobia don’t know how to read, and refuse to try to learn. Unfortunately, if you’re not reading, you’re missing out on learning and developing. In fact, according to the National Education Association, “teachers should be supported by parents, skilled education support professionals, communities that value and promote reading, and policies that provide adequate resources and allow them to use their expertise.”
Plutophobia: Fear of money
Some of us might almost wish we had this problem: the fear of money. This is one of those weird phobias that can manifest as dread around money itself, the chance of getting rich, or wealthy people. If you’re not anxious around money, then be sure to learn these money tips from the world’s most successful people.
Ideophobia: Fear of reason or ideas
Those with extreme distrust or fear of reason or ideas have ideophobia. Maybe that explains why your competitive coworker keeps shutting down your ideas.
Geliophobia: Fear of laughter
People with the fear of laughter—not to be confused with gelotophobia, the fear of being laughed at—might hate chuckling or the sound of others’ giggles if they have one of these weird phobias. Some just feel slightly uncomfortable, but others could start to hyperventilate. It’s a shame too, because laughter may have several health benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter is associated with relieving pain, reducing stress, and boosting the immune system.
Omphalophobia: Fear of belly buttons
People with the fear of belly buttons try to avoid touching their own, even in the bath, and might cover their belly buttons with a bandage or avoid going to places full of exposed navels, like the beach.
Xanthophobia: Fear of the color yellow
A school bus could be deeply uncomfortable for someone with xanthophobia, the fear of the color yellow or the word itself. If you know someone with this phobia, then don’t show them this information about why school buses are, well, yellow.
Eleutherophobia: Fear of freedom
People with the fear of freedom generally can’t do anything without taking an order from someone else, making them much more inclined to be followers than leaders. They might be scared of the increased responsibilities that come with more freedom.
Chaetophobia: Fear of hair
Whether their own or other people’s tresses, those with chaetophobia have the fear of hair. They might hate running their fingers through their locks, or even be immobilized by a clump of hair on the floor.
Octophobia: Fear of the number eight
Experts think the fear of the number eight it could be rooted in superstition, with octophobics afraid of the inescapable—flip the number on its side and it looks like an infinity sign. These weird phobias could translate to fear of the symbol for eight, or objects in groups of eight.
Symmetrophobia: Fear of symmetry
A perfect circle is not the friend of someone who’s afraid of symmetry. They might think of symmetry as perfection or extreme beauty that they aren’t worthy of being around. People with asymmetriphobia, on the other hand, have the fear of asymmetrical things.
Kathisophobia: Fear of sitting down
While you look forward to sinking into a comfy chair after a long day, some people experience the fear of sitting down. While phobias can sometimes severely disrupt daily life, there’s something to be said for not sitting for long periods of time. Harvard Medical School experts warn about the dangers of prolonged sitting, stating that “habitual inactivity raises risks for obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, deep-vein thrombosis, and metabolic syndrome.”
Aurophobia: Fear of gold
A fancy new necklace won’t impress everyone—especially those with the fear of gold. They could have panic attacks with nausea, sweating, or an irregular heartbeat when they see someone else wearing the metal. Aside from gold jewelry, here are some other weird causes of feeling anxious.
Nostophobia: Fear of returning home
Home might be where the heart is for some, but others have the fear of returning home. These people might have experienced abuse there. Or, they may fear that others will view their return as a failure. Sadly, returning home may truly up negativity and family discord. A study published in a 2018 issue of the journal Social Science & Medicine states that children who return home may alter a parent’s quality of life. This is probably because parents became used to independence after their children left. Therefore, when children enter the picture again, it can upset the dynamic.
Caligynephobia: Fear of beautiful women
Also known as venustraphobia, the fear of beautiful women goes way beyond nervousness or intimidation around someone pretty. Those with a phobia might feel chest pain, get numbness in the extremities, or faint when around attractive women.
Nomophobia: Fear of not having a mobile phone
For nomophobiacs, going without their phone causes extreme anxiety. You probably have nomophobia and don’t even know it! But not having a mobile phone may not be so bad; here are 13 ways your cell phone affects your body and mind.
Pogonophobia: Fear of beards
That toddler sitting on Santa’s lap isn’t freaking out over the stranger hugging her. In other words, her fear could be from be pogonophobia, the fear of beards. No wonder TV villains are always stroking theirs.
Somniphobia: Fear of sleep
This is one phobia that will keep you up at night: Somniphobia is the fear of sleep. That’s too bad because sleep is associated with many health benefits. For example, the Mayo Clinic notes that lack of sleep increases your risk of developing colds. Even worse, if you miss out on sleep on a long-term basis, you may be more likely to develop obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
Neophobia: Fear of new things and experiences
Neophobiacs feel anxious about new life experiences. For example, a departure from their cereal-eating breakfast routine may be bothersome. Another fearful feeling may involve meeting friends at a different coffee shop instead of the usual corner cafe. New experiences, no matter how large or small, can create fear and anxiety.
Kakorrhaphiophobia: Fear of failure
Hate losing? You’ve got kakorrhaphiophobia: the fear of failure. Even if you think about failure a lot, here are the 30 things you probably never thought about until now.
Ataxophobia: Fear of disorder
Has anyone ever called you “OCD”? Are you vacuuming crumbs out of your keyboard right now? You may have ataxophobia: the fear of disorder.
Hippopotomonstro- sesquippedaliophobia: Fear of very long words
Ironically, this very long word refers to the fear of very long words. If you’re afraid of long words, you’ll probably never write any of them out. In the meantime, check out what your handwriting reveals about your personality.
Metrophobia: Fear of poetry
If you have metrophobia, your favorite love poem might sound like this: “Roses are terrifying. Violets are terrifying. I hate poems.” Metrophobia is the fear of poetry.
Genuphobia: Fear of knees
If you had your way, it would be trousers and maxi skirts for everyone. Genuphobia is the fear of knees.
Linonophobia: Fear of string
Would you sooner go nude than sew up a hole in your clothes? You may suffer linonophobia: the fear of string. On the other hand, if it doesn’t make you flinch, then you’ll appreciate these helpful home uses for string.
Aulophobia: Fear of flutes
Anyone with this phobia will want to steer clear of certain bands. However, while the fear of flutes may affect some people, for others, it’s calming. For example, the University of Nevada, Reno, highlights previous research about music’s feel-good power. Specifically, they note that “…stringed-instruments, drums, and flutes are very effective at relaxing the mind even when played moderately loud.”
Ostraconophobia: Fear of shellfish
Ostraconophobia is the fear of shellfish, which could be an especially challenging phobia if you have friends who love shrimp cocktails. Or if you live near the ocean. Or pass by the lobster tank in the supermarket. You get the point. For those of you who aren’t afraid of shellfish, here is what your favorite foods reveal about your personality.
- Journal of Immunology Research: “Immunomodulation and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Garlic Compounds”
- National Safety Council: “Fall-prevention Measures Can Keep Older Adults Independent”
- National Education Association: “Reading.”
- Mayo Clinic: “Stress Management.”
- Harvard Medical School: “The Dangers of Sitting.”
- Social Science & Medicine: “Returns Home by Children and Changes in Parents’ Well-being in Europe.”
- Mayo Clinic: “Lack of Sleep: Can it Make You Sick?”
- University of Nevada, Reno: “Releasing Stress Through the Power of Music”