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Alternative for the term 'phobia'.


Local time
Tomorrow 8:13 AM
Jul 8, 2012
Victoria, Australia
The term phobia has come to mean both fear and hatred/aversion, with the deciding factor appearing to be whether the target is a group of people.

Some examples,
Arachnophobia - The fear (but not necessarily hatred) of spiders.
Cynophobia - The fear (but not necessarily hatred) of dogs.
Homophobia - The hatred/aversion of homosexuals (but not the fear).
Transphobia - The hatred/aversion of transsexuals (but not the fear).

So, what is an alternative for the term phobia that only ever means fear? What word could be used to describe a person who is genuinely afraid of a group of people that doesn't have attached with it a judgement call regarding said person?

I have (finally) accepted that phobias are irrational. To me this implies that we can't judge the veracity of any given phobia, so the acceptability of a phobia isn't of interest to me.


The Lance of Longinus
Local time
Tomorrow 6:13 AM
Dec 7, 2014
idk, but words in general are pretty malleable and are subject to change over time.

But to make a point, I think any word with sexual references in it somewhat undercuts the real use of the word. Like homophobia or transphobia. In scientific usage it should mean people who simply do have an irrational fear of homosexuals, just like some people are scared irrationally by the fuzzy parts on a peach. But it's come to be weaponized to label people who are against homosexuality, not someone who has an irrational fear. Being against something as a notion is very different from having a negative emotion from it.

It's the same thing with the word pedophilla. Pedophilla in its scientific usage is someone who has an uncontrolable sexual attraction to minors, something that is beyond their conscious self-control. But we tend to vilify pedophillics as someone who is sexually normative who commits sexual perversion out of simply to indulge in the perversion.

So yeah. I don't necessarily agree with the general assumption of the use of the suffix 'phobia', but I do recognize that people are using it in that manner at the moment. I'm unsure whether that it's a good thing or a bad thing however. Like I said in the beginning, words change and evolve over time, so..

I guess the subsequent logic is that, even if we do have a word that does delineate what 'fear' is, it could be used to mean 'hate', considering what has happened to the word phobia.


We're all trying our best. Aren't we?
Local time
Today 3:13 PM
Jun 13, 2019
People cannibalizing science to sound authoritative has always been around, even when science wasn't science. In this case the medical field.

Everyone has ADHD for example, or they have OCD, or Bipolar, you're an alcoholic if you drink on occasion. Truth is, these people just happen to tune in to certain behaviors and are using whatever index they can as shorthand to explain it. Many people with these issue don't even notice it themselves unless it's severe or pointed out to them.

Just say something like "You have a tendency to express X". I think that's fair. The more specific X is, the more helpful you are anyways.


Team Ignorant
Local time
Today 1:13 PM
Jan 8, 2013
US of A

People should be using the word 'prejudice' instead of butchering the language by misusing words and making up their own terms like homophobia.
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