Versatile -phobia

A phobia is an irrational, excessive fear of something. Many -phobia words that have been in the language for years: acrophobia (fear of heights), claustrophobia (fear of closed-in spaces), herpetophobia (fear of snakes).

The familiar -phobia suffix is also handy for writers to coin new words. I just ran across this one: carbophobia, which any reader will be able to understand means the irrational fear of carbohydrates. I don’t think that phobia is officially recognized, though.

Here is The Phobia List, for those who aren’t afraid to learn more.

This article was originally posted by the Raleigh News & Observer, a subsidiary of The McClatchy Co.; is posted here to provide continuity; and is copyright © 2011 The News & Observer Publishing Company, which reserves the right to remove this post.