Beyond Words - Language Blog

Health Scare! 20 Phobias of the Health Care Debate

The current debate over health care has some people in a panic, and many of the concerns being voiced (such as the concern over granny-killing government death panels), are unfounded and irrational.

Judging by the news coverage of recent town-hall meetings, we have become a nation of health care phobics. Because fear is old and pervasive, many languages derive the names of phobias from the basic Western language template of Greek.

The word “phobia” originated in the Greek word phóbos (φόβος), or “morbid fear.”

Here are some real phobias that may shed some light on the Health Scare debate:

Spermatophobia:
fear of germs;
from the Greek sperma, meaning “seed.”

Tropophobia:
fear of making decisions;
from the Greek tropos, meaning “a turn.”

Phagophobia:
fear of swallowing or being swallowed;
from the Greek phagos, meaning “voracious.”

Nosophobia:
fear of becoming ill;
from the Greek nosos, meaning “disease.”

Necrophobia:
fear of death or dead things;
from the Greek nekros, meaning “corpse.”

Pantophobia:
fear of everything;
from the Greek pantos, meaning “all.”

Macrophobia:
fear of long waits, such as waiting in long lines

Iatrophobia:
fear of going to the doctor

Trypanophobia:
fear of injections or inoculations

Pyrexiophobia:
fear of getting a fever.

Prosophobia:
fear of progress

Pnigophobia:
fear of choking to death

Paralipophobia:
fear of responsibility, social or personal

Neopharmaphobia:
fear of new medications

Levophobia:
fear of the Left, or the left side of things

Iophobia:
fear of being poisoned

Coprostasiphobia:
fear of constipation

Centophobia:
fear of new things or ideas