Each one of us is afraid of something and for unknown reasons, they can’t be helped.

It may be caused by a traumatic experience in our life but these irrational fears are coined as Phobias which are rooted in the Greek word “Phobos” meaning “fear.” In fact, most of the fears we have are derived from the Greek language. Many fears are reasonable; however, a phobia is more intense. You may use the word as an adjective, too
Afraid of the dark? Or snakes? You are not alone. Here are the fifteen most common phobias in the world along with the origin of the words.


Meaning: irrational fear of spiders and other arachnids such as scorpions.

Origin: ἀράχνη (arákhnē, “spider”) + φόβος (phóbos, “fear”).

Pronunciation: /æˌɹæk.nəˈfəʊ.bɪ.ə/

Sample Sentence: If you have moderate arachnophobia, don’t dare go into the living room. There was a spider there yesterday.


Meaning: irrational fear of snakes.

Origin: ὄφις (óphis, “serpent”) +‎ -phobia

Pronunciation: \ ō-ˌfi-dē-(ˌ)ō-ˈfō-bē-ə  \

Sample Sentence: a member of the British Embassy broke the news that the entire Ferguson family suffered from ophidiophobia.  -People Weekly


Meaning: abnormal dread of being in a high place : fear of heights.

Origin: akros “at the end, topmost” (from PIE root *ak- “be sharp, rise (out) to a point, pierce”) + -phobia “fear.”

Pronunciation: \ ˌa-krə-ˈfō-bē-ə  \

Sample Sentence: Because I have acrophobia, I never ride anything other than the Ferris wheel at the amusement park.


Meaning: abnormal fear of death or dead things.

Origin: nekros (νεκρός) for “corpse” and the Greek phobos (φόβος) for “fear”.

Pronunciation: /ˌnekrəˈfōbēə/

Sample Sentence: Abby, I don’t have time to deal with your necrophobia.


Meaning: abnormal fear of confined spaces.

Origin: Latin word claustrum which means “a closed-in place,” and the Greek word, phobos meaning “fear.”

Pronunciation: / ˌklɔ strəˈfoʊ bi ə /

Sample Sentence: My claustrophobia prevents me from doing some things that other people take for granted, like taking the elevator.


Meaning: an irrational or disproportionate fear of clowns..

Origin: coulro- (perhaps from Greek kolon “limb”; with the sense of “stilt-walker,” hence “clown”) + -phobia

Pronunciation: / ˌkul rəˈfoʊ bi ə /

Sample Sentence: I could never go to the circus because I have coulrophobia.


Meaning: an irrational or disproportionate fear of blood.

Origin: Greek “haima” (blood) and “phobos” (fear)

Pronunciation: / ˌhi məˈfoʊ bi ə, ˌhɛm ə- /

Sample Sentence: Mateo is a doctor who was living in New York City until he started suffering hemophobia.


Meaning: an irrational or disproportionate fear of dolls.

Origin: from ‘Paidion’ which means ‘little child’ in Greek and ‘Phobos’ meaning fear or deep dread.

Pronunciation: /pidiowfowbiə/

Sample Sentence: Ever since I watched that movie about a psycho doll murderer, I started to suffer from pediophobia. I feel like they are all watching me.


Meaning: an irrational or disproportionate fear of public speaking.

Origin: Greek γλῶσσα glossa, meaning tongue, and φόβος phobos, fear or dread.

Pronunciation: \ ˌglä-sō-ˈfō-bē-ə

Sample Sentence: Even if you have glossophobia (fear of public speaking), don’t worry–you can beat it.


Meaning: an irrational or disproportionate fear of darkness.

Origin: Greek νυκτός, nyktos, genitive of νύξ, nyx, “night” and φόβος, phobos, “fear”.

Pronunciation: \ ˌnik-tə-ˈfō-bē-ə

Sample Sentence: He suffered from nyctophobia early in his life, but in his later years overcame this by forcing himself to take walks.

“It’s human nature to feel uncomfortable venturing into the great unknown. But facing our fears is something we should do. It’s how we grow!”


Meaning: the overwhelming, extreme fear of medical procedures that involve needles.

Origin: Ancient Greek τρυπάω (trupáō, “pierce, puncture”) + -phobia

Pronunciation: (trih-PAN-o-foe-bee-uh)

Sample Sentence: Negotiating with doctors in casualty is just one of the many pitfalls of trypanophobia.


Meaning: involves fear of public places and crowds. But it also may involve fear of being in shops, or even fear of being in open spaces, or fear of traveling alone. It may also be a fear of experiencing some uncontrollable or embarrassing event (like fainting) in the presence of others with no help available.

Origin: Ancient Greek τρυπάω (trupáō, “pierce, puncture”) + -phobia

Pronunciation: \ ˌa-g(ə-)rə-ˈfō-bē-ə

Sample Sentence: Greek word “agora,” meaning market, to refer to the fear of large, open spaces.


Meaning: It is also referred to as flying anxiety, flying phobia, flight phobia, aviophobia, aerophobia.

Origin: unknown


Meaning: extreme or irrational fear of dirt or contamination..

Origin: Greek mýsos (neuter s-stem) “pollution, defilement” (of uncertain origin) + -O- + -PHOBIA

Pronunciation: \ ˌmī-sə-​ˈfō-​bē-​ə \

Sample Sentence: The morning’s final patient was a Georgetown law student whose mysophobia had become so intense, that she’d begun incinerating her own underwear every night. —James Patterson, Double Cross.

Each one of us has something that we fear. It could be mild and or irrational but nonetheless, it is up to us to overcome them. It can take a long time but hey, that can’t be helped. Studying a language is also somehow terrifying. It’s human nature to feel uncomfortable venturing into the great unknown. But facing our fears is something we should do. It’s how we grow!