Being a freelance writer for 6+ years, Billy has interest and knowledge in a wide range of topics.
Did you know there are many types of phobias? If you can think of it, there is probably a person who has, or had a fear of it and along with it a proper term. Some popular examples of these types of fears include:
- Arachnophobia – The fear of spiders
- Acrophobia – The fear of heights
- Claustrophobia – The fear of small spaces
- Coulrophobia – The fear of clowns
- Aquaphobia – The fear of water
However, there are fears and phobias that the majority of us would consider to be a weird phobia. After looking over various lists of phobias I created a list of the weird, strange and surprising fears I found.
I have personally experienced a couple of the phobias on this list to some extend in my past, and I didn't even know they existed! They are thalassophobia & telephonophobia.
If you know of a strange phobia not mentioned, but worthy of being on this list let me know in the comments below.
1. Phobia of Long Words (Hippopotomonstrosesquppedaliophobia)
What is it?
Remember the song from Marry Poppins ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’? For many children and adults, it was a fun word to try saying and singing. However, for many suffer from this phobia of long words, the 34-letter word is intimidating and avoided at all cost.
The technical term is 35 letters long: Hippopotomonstrosesquppedaliophobia
Although there seems to be no statistical estimate of how many people have this phobia, it’s believed that many do. Studies believe this fear is developed when a person makes an attempt to pronounce longer words, but have a hard time with them. This results in their subconscious considering the long word, and others to be negative.
Therefore, the more times a long word is attempted and failed, the negativity creates anxiety and develops into a fear.
Famous People with a Fear of Long Words
At the time of writing, I could not locate any famous people or celebrities with this particular phobia.
Although, I did learn that Oprah Winfrey developed a phobia of gum as a child when her grandmother stuck chewed gum around the house, apparently even lining them in cabinets for later? Her TV audience was even instructed not to chew gum.
Signs, Symptoms & Triggers of Long Word Phobia
Triggers can depend on the persons degree of the phobia. They may simply get nervous when asked to pronounce long words, while others have intense reactions from simply seeing one. It is suggested by anecdotal evidence that it triggers the thought and feeling of mocking and embarrassment.
Symptoms may include:
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- Avoidance of reading
- Breathing changes
- In some cases, a full panic attack and nausea
2. The Phobia of Holes (Trypophobia)
What is it?
This is the term for people who develop anxiety, fear and in some cases a full-blown phobia of holes. However, it is not just any regular hole, but irregular patterns of holes, including ant hills, strawberries, honeycomb, and so on.
The first documented use occurred in 2005 by Geoff Cole and Arnold Wilkins, British researchers. Although Dr. Geoff Cole studied Trypophobia, he also suffers with the disorder and referred to it as being “the most common phobia, no one has heard of”.
These researchers claimed to have been the first to study this phobia, - because Cole suffered from it, I could see why he was curious what caused the disorder - rather than being a learned cultural fear, they believe it may be adverse reactions of biological revulsion.
Famous People with a Fear of Holes
The common term for those with this fear is Trypophobes, and it affects famous people too. Naturally, this helps shine more light on this rare disorder. Below are some of the celebrities who’ve talked about their condition:
- Kendall Jenner: She went public about being a trypophobe, stating “I cannot even look at small holes without getting anxiety.”
- Sarah Paulson: This actress’ real fear was written into her role on American Horror Story – That’s one way to face your fears.
Signs, Symptoms & Triggers of Trypophobia
Triggers can include: swiss cheese, sponges, hair follicles, honeycombs, even skin pores.
Still being a new area of study, this phobia is still being studied and has not been recognized or listed in any scientific literature.
3. Fear of Public Speaking (Glossophobia)
What is it?
The term refers to those who suffer from a fear of speaking in public. Also, commonly diagnosed as “social anxiety disorder”, similar to telephonophobia (see Telephone Phobia later in the list). From speaking in front of a small group to a large auditorium of people, this phobia has a wide wide range. It could present itself in childhood when being requested to answer a question or read aloud in front of the class. Other times it can develop later in life, such as in college or at a job when you may be required to speak in front of a much larger group.