50 Weird Phobias You Won’t Believe People Actually Have

11 minute read

By Kathleen Corrigan

Plenty of people are afraid of things like spiders, lightning, and enclosed spaces, but did you know there’s a phobia for just about anything and everything you can think of?

This vast and intriguing world of phobias reflects the complexity and diversity of human fears. With this in mind, here are 50 of the most bizarre fears that have actually been formally diagnosed — they’re fascinating.


Anyone suffering from this strange fear should probably stay away from beaches, cruise ships and college sporting events.

Cymophobia is the fear not just of waves but also “wave like motions,” which we would assume precludes the afflicted from surfing, using rocking chairs and participating in “the wave” at sporting events. It’s often caused by traumatic childhood events involving water.


While some might think that the idea of being tickled with a feather sounds like a turn on, for others, the concept sends them into a cold sweat accompanied by dry mouth and heart palpitations.

If that sounds at all familiar, you could be suffering from pteronophobia, the fear of being tickled with feathers.


If you weren’t a sesquipedalophobe before you started reading this article, you might be now, since sesquipedalophobia is a fear of long words.

Hearing someone even so much as whistle “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” probably gets their heart rate up. How a patient would even get through hearing the diagnosis we’ll never know.


Bald men, rejoice! There‘s someone out there for everyone, and if your hairlessness is holding you back in love, simply find a partner suffering from chaetophobia, also known as the fear of hair.

While many chaetophobes are only bothered by loose hair, others cower at the sight of attached hair as well. So just be warned, you might have to shave everything.


If you’re not bald yet but worry that you will be someday, you could be suffering from peladophobia, which is the fear of going bald.

Baldness is a very common concern among men, but in rare cases it can develop into a crippling fear that’s accompanied by emotional distress, depression, sweating and panic attacks.


Peanut butter might be a lunchtime staple for some, but for others the sticky, gummy substance strikes fear into their hearts and it has nothing to do with having a deadly peanut allergy.

Arachibutyrophobes don’t fear peanut butter itself, but rather they worry about it sticking to the roof of their mouth – which, we have to admit, can be an unpleasant experience.


Homophobia, a fear or dislike of gay people, is a commonly heard word, but did you ever consider that it might go both ways?

Heterophobia is the fear of heterosexuals. With the way many gay people are still discriminated against in this day and age, it’s not surprising anyone would develop this particular phobia.


The Netherlands is a beautiful country famous for its colorful tulip fields, towering windmills, quaint wooden shoes and delicious frites, but people suffering from Dutchphobia should probably avoid visiting this European nation.

Dutchphobia is exactly what it sounds like: a fear of Dutch people and culture. There is something off-putting about those pointy winged bonnets they wear.


Luckily for those who suffer from a fear of sitting, aka cathisophobia, standing desks are really trendy these days.

Cathisophobia tends to affect people differently depending on their age; younger sufferers often find that being forced to sit in a classroom setting triggers them because it makes them feel trapped, while older sitting phobes tend to dread sitting down because it causes them pain or discomfort.


Nobody enjoys having to wait for anything, but some people actually have a legitimate fear of it, known as macrophobia.

How do macrophobes go to the doctor if they’re forced to sit in the waiting room? How do they deal with flight delays? Will a note from their doctor allow them to skip the line at the DMV? If so, we think we feel a case of macrophobia coming on…


It’s one thing to be intimidated by beautiful women, but those afflicted with Venustraphobia are actually terrified of them.

Often stemming from low self-esteem and an overemphasis on the importance of appearances, Venustraphobes avoid socializing with and can even panic around good-looking women.


A truly 21st century problem, nomophobia is the fear of being without a cell phone or outside the range of phone contact.

Nomophobia is reportedly on the rise amongst teenagers and college students who are too young to remember a time before cell phones. Many adolescents even say they would rather lose their pinky finger than their phone.


For many of us, soaking up the sun on a warm beach sounds like a dream vacation but to heliophobes it sounds more like a nightmare.

Heliophobia is a fear of the sun and sunlight, keeping many sufferers indoors behind blackout curtains or stuck working the nightshift.


Geniophobes everywhere must have celebrated when Jay Leno retired from late night TV, as they have a fear of chins.

While some geniophobes are obsessed with their own chin and the possibility of falling and injuring it, others focus on other people’s chins, especially those they deem to be overly large or deformed.


Plenty of people hate going to work, but some people actually have a legitimate fear of it.

Ergophobes are afraid of having to going to work and some even experience panic attacks at the mere thought of finding gainful employment. Often it is caused by past trauma such as getting fired from a previous job or being humiliated in the workplace.


Trypophobia is one of those fears that you don’t know you have until you Google it. (Seriously, don’t Google it.)

Trypophobia is an aversion to clusters of small holes and is believed to be rooted in human evolution. Scientists claim that many dangerous plants and animals are characterized by small holes or similar patterns, which triggers the brain into sensing a biological threat.


We can’t think of a more torturous fear than somniphobia – the fear of sleep. Somniphobes are generally afraid of what will happen while they’re asleep, whether it is nightmares, sleepwalking, break-ins or slipping away into “the big sleep.”

Considering that rest is needed to survive, somniphobia can be a debilitating condition that requires professional treatment.


Is it just us or do a lot of teenagers seem to suffer from ablutophobia?

Abultophobia is the irrational fear of bathing and has been found to be more common in women and children. Oftentimes it is triggered by a past event that has either been experienced or witnessed; many have even claimed to have developed the fear after watching the shower scene in Psycho.


We’ll admit that knees are probably the least sexy looking body part, but some people actually have a legitimate fear of them.

Some genuphobia sufferers are afraid of other people’s knees and are often a product of a conservative upbringing, particularly one where bare knees are considered shameful. Other genuphobes have a fear of the act of kneeling which often stems from a knee injury.


If it weren’t for Sir Isaac Newton and that damned apple, baraphobes would be living their lives in blissful ignorance.

Baraphobia is the fear of gravity and can be felt in one of two ways; sufferers either worry that gravity will increase and crush them or that it will disappear altogether and they will one day float away into space. Either way, it sounds exhausting.


We’ve heard some doozy monster-in-law stories over the years, but we’ve yet to develop full-blown pentheraphobia – the fear of mothers-in-law.

While the phobia can be experienced by both sexes, it occurs more often in women, as many mothers seem to subscribe to the creepy notion that they are somehow in competition with their son’s wives.


Terms like “innies” and “outies” must strike fear into the hearts of omphalphobes, because they suffer from an irrational fear of bellybuttons. Some are afraid of their own navels or the thought of anyone touching them, while others are disgusted at the sight of other people’s bellybuttons.

Many omphalphobia sufferers say their fear dates back to childhood and that they consider navels to be dirty and creepy.


We imagine that 2006, the year when Beyoncé’s earworm tune “Irreplaceable” came out (“to the left, to the left”) and was being played everywhere must have been a tough year for levophobes.

Levophobia is the fear of things to the left side of the body. Thinking about how anyone would avoid things being on their left has us chasing our tail.


This bizarre fear is actually pretty common and you probably know more about it than you think. Disposophobia, also known as “hoarding,” is the fear of throwing things away.

A popular subject for reality TV shows, disposophobes are known to fill their homes with trash and junk and often experience panic attacks at the thought of getting rid of their possessions whether they’re still of use or not.


Aulophobics have no interest in hearing any of your “one time, at band camp…” stories; they suffer from a crippling fear of flutes.

This sounds like a fairly easy fear to live with considering they simply have to avoid marching bands and music classrooms. However, we do feel bad that aulophobes will never be able to appreciate Will Ferrell’s epic jazz flute solo in Anchorman.


Many a relationship has deteriorated due to jealousy, but some people have even gone so far as to develop a fear of it. Zelophobia is the fear of jealousy and other intense emotions.

Sufferers have been known to repress their feelings so much that they do not express emotions at all, which can obviously lead to further mental issues down the road.


Most people get a certain satisfaction from seeing symmetry, and it’s long been known that symmetry is closely associated with the perception of beauty.

However for some people, visual harmony makes them extremely uncomfortable. Symmetrophobes favor chaos over perfection and can even break out into a cold sweat when faced with symmetrical objects.


In today’s age of smartphones and tablets, handwriting almost seems like a forgotten skill, which is good news for scriptophobes.

Scriptophobia is the fear of writing in public and is generally experienced by students in a classroom setting, although it can also include a fear of having to fill out forms in public.


After the horror show that was the 2016 election, we just might be suffering from politicophobia. Politcophobes have a fear of politics and politicians, and considering that 41.5% of eligible citizens couldn’t be bothered to vote this year, this may very well be a widespread condition.


Perhaps one of the strangest fears on this list is euphobia, the fear of hearing good news.

Euphobes tend to develop the aversion after hearing good news that later turned out to be false, like being told that they’d won the lottery only to find out that they didn’t. Understandably, this would lead to a mistrust of any other good news that comes their way.


As the old saying goes, people who live in glass houses… must not be afflicted with nelophobia.

Nelophobia is the irrational fear of glass and is based mostly on an anxiety about being hurt by broken glass. Often it is caused by past accidents that involved smashed windows or the throwing of glass objects.


If you suffer from koniophobia, you’d better stay far away from our house. Konophobia is the fear of dust, meaning that most sufferers tend to stay indoors while some even obsessively purify their air.

Hearing old tales about the Dust Bowl era must give them a major case of the heebie-jeebies.


We definitely have a fear of math, but we can’t say we’ve ever been bothered by a particular number. Octophobes are afraid of 8s, sometimes due to a negative association with the number itself and other times because of an anxiety about i’s looping infinity shape, which can sometimes be connected to apeirophobia.

Don’t know what apeirophobia is? Read on to find out…


Apeirophobia is the fear of eternity or infinity, which does sound pretty daunting when you think about it. Aperirophobes reportedly have obsessive thoughts about death, infinity and the afterlife, leading to depression and loss of focus and appetite.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is known to be an effective treatment for the condition.


They might not all wear denim shorts under their clothes, but nevernudes are an actual thing. Gymnophobia is the fear of being seen nude or seeing other people naked and is generally the product of a repressive upbringing or fear of sexuality. Gymnophobes tend to avoid change rooms, beaches and public washrooms.

There are dozens of them! Dozens!


“If music be the food of love,” melophobics will pass, thanks. They suffer from an irrational fear of music that often stems from sensitivity to changes in pitch and sound.

This can be caused by past traumas such as a loud concert that resulted in tinnitus or it can even happen to a musician who develops sensitivity to the sound of their instrument.


Liononophobes must have frequent nightmares about silly string, cheese sticks and balls of yarn, because they are deathly afraid of string.

Many people suffering from linonophobia claim to have developed the fear after experiencing or witnessing someone being tied up, associating string with confinement. Some linonophobes even go so far as to avoid wearing shoelaces in favor of slip on shoes.


We love food so much that we can’t imagine what it would be like to live with this phobia. Geumaphobia is the fear of taste, generally an anxiety about experiencing bad tastes however some sufferers fear any taste at all, preferring to stick to bland and familiar foods.


Being indecisive is one thing, but if the thought of choosing between two items on a menu makes your heart race and your mouth dry up, you might be suffering from decidophobia.

Decidophobes fear the consequences of their choices and lack the confidence in their own ability to make good decisions; they would sooner defer all decisions to a guardian, spouse or a higher power.


While the average person can’t wait to get home from work at the end of the day, domatophobia sufferers would rather be anywhere else.

Domatophobia is the fear of houses and can be caused by a number of factors including a traumatic event inside a home, an upsetting childhood or an unchecked case of claustrophobia.


While domatophobes fear houses, oikophobes are more concerned with what’s inside them. Oikophobia is the fear of home surroundings including furniture, appliances, bathroom and electrical fixtures.

Honey, if you’re reading this, no this is not a valid excuse to get out of loading the dishwasher.


We love cheese just as much as the next person, but admit it; it’s just edible mold that sometimes smells like feet. Turophobia is the irrational fear of cheese and more we think about the less irrational it seems.

Still, you’ll have to pry our cheese pizza from our cold, dead hands.


They say time heals all… but can it heal chronophobia, aka the fear of time?

Linked to a fear of death, chronophobes obsess over the thought that the present will soon become the past and that time is unstoppable. Chronophobia is most often seen in prison inmates and the elderly.


Know someone who’s a real Scrooge who likes to suck the fun out of everything? Maybe they’re just suffering from the fear of happiness and joyfulness, which in psychiatric circles is referred to as cherophobia.

Cherophobes have negative associations with celebration and rejoicing, often because they fear that happiness will undoubtedly be ruined by some kind of terrible news.


Frequently experienced by former criminals, dikephobia is the fear of justice and the justice system.

Dikephobia is typically linked to a fear of incarceration and anything from seeing a police officer, to hearing a news report on a sentencing to watching a courtroom television program can trigger an anxious response from someone suffering from the condition.


The ‘90s Nickelodeon era must have torture from blennophobes, who suffer from a strong aversion to slime. Blennophobia can involve a fear of everything from snails to honey to a sci-fi or horror flick that involves slimy ghosts or aliens.

If you’re not blennophobic, please enjoy this compilation of the best slime moments from past Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards.


As you might guess, kleptophobia is the fear of theft, which sounds like a pretty reasonable thing to be concerned about. However, it doesn’t just include the fear of being robbed, it’s also the term used for the fear of committing theft, as if things will magically fly into your pockets on your way out of a store.

Both aspects of this phobia can be experienced in the same patient.


If you’re reading this article right now and you suffer from logizomechanophobia, either you just made a breakthrough or you’ve printed this entire thing out; either way, we’re impressed.

Logizomechanophobia is the irrational fear of computers and sufferers tend to avoid everything from laptops to ATMs to smart phones. We’re not sure how they are able to live without access to internet memes.


If you’re suffering from panophobia, well – we’re not sure how to help you, because that’s way above our pay grade. Panophobia is the fear of everything and the state of living in constant anxiety about an unknown evil or impending doom.

Obviously, this can have a crippling effect on one’s life and requires intense professional help.


Finally, if you’re starting to feel anxious at the thought of developing any of these fears, congratulations – you’re a phobophobe. Phobophobia is the fear of phobias and considering the sheer number of phobias that exist out there, it’s not an unfounded one.

Just remember, the only thing to fear is fear itself.

Kathleen Corrigan