40 of the World’s Weirdest Phobias You Probably Never Heard of Before

A phobia is a particular type of anxiety disorder that leave people paralyzed with terror when they’re exposed to a triggering event or object. Coulrophobia, for example, is the irrational fear of clowns. People with this condition would get heart palpitations, anxiety, and even nausea if they happen to find themselves surrounded by clowns. But there are some phobias out there that are as weird as the irrational feelings and triggers that produce them.

Ablutophobia: The Fear of Washing

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Does the idea of eating a roach sound a lot less scary and disgusting than taking your car to a car wash? Do you hate the idea of washing your face or taking long showers? Then you might be suffering from ablutophobia, the fear of bathing, cleaning or washing. People suffering from this irrational phobia would also let their laundry pile up because they’re afraid of coming into contact with water. Surprisingly, this condition is more common in women than in men.

Hagiophobia: The Fear of Holy Things

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Holy figures, like a statue of Jesus, or the Pope, crosses, priests, and Holy water are just some of the things that someone with hagiophobia is afraid of. More often than not, these irrational fears stem from internal predispositions and a specific traumatic event. Hagiophobia is also highly related to Ecclesiaphobia, which is the fear of church, holy people, and organized religion.

Cainophobia: The Fear of Newness

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Change is scary, but it’s a part of life and sadly for anyone suffering from this phobia, it can’t be avoided. However, for someone with cainophobia, change can be downright mortifying. So, something like moving to a new home, a new town, or even buying a new television set or computer might cause a panic attack, nausea, short of breath, and an increased heart rate.

Tachophobia: The Fear of Speed

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People suffering from Tachophobia have an irrational, extreme, and persistent fear of speed. So, riding in fast-moving cars, trains, and buses is completely out of the question as this could trigger a major anxiety attack. Even words related to speed can be a trigger. So, movies like “Fast and the Furious” and the hit series “The Flash” are definitely not on these people’s Netflix queues.

Dextrophobia: The Fear of Objects to the Right

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A person suffering from Dextrophobia has a powerful fear of objects on the ride side of their bodies. So, when they move or redecorate their place, they likely direct movers to put furniture and other objects on the left-hand side. It might sound like they’re being total control freaks, but to the person suffering from this, it’s a genuine fear.

Aulophobia: The Fear of Flutes

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Aulophobia is the specific and very real fear of flutes. The thought of seeing one in real life, online, or in a magazine is completely horrifying for anyone suffering from it. Seeing a flute on the big screen or on television could produce chest pains, trembling, shaking, excessive sweating, and a full-blown panic attack. So, someone with Aulophobia will probably close their eyes during that infamous “American Pie” scene where Alyson Hannigan’s character talks about what she did with her flute.

Automatonophobia: The Fear of Human-Like Figures

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Automatonophobia is the fear caused by the presence of a human-like figure like a dummy, a wax statue, or even a robot designed to look like a person. So wax museums, Barbie dolls, and mannequins could easily trigger dizziness, light headedness, feeling of choking, trembling, and shaking on someone who suffers from this phobia.

Ereuthophobia: The Fear of Red Lights

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People who have Ereuthophobia have a paralyzing fear of red lights because they associate the color red with danger. So, the red in a traffic light might cause someone to panic and hit the gas to avoid staring at the color while they wait for the light to turn green. Even the sight of blood or someone blushing could trigger an anxiety attack.

Asymmetriphobia: The Fear of Asymmetrical Objects

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Those with Asymmetriphobia have a paralyzing disdain for asymmetrical objects. This includes articles of clothing like mismatched socks and mismatched earrings. People who experience this phobia often surround themselves with objects that match in size, shape, or color or they have an immediate anxiety reaction. On the plus side, these people are generally methodical.

Selenophobia: The Fear of the Moon

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Anyone suffering with Selenophobia has a death-defying aversion to the moon. Some folks are afraid that the moon will come crashing down on the planet. Others people who experience this phobia are afraid of a sky without a moon. For anyone suffering from this condition, just talking or mentioning the moon could lead to an anxiety attack. Like most phobias, the fear originates from a traumatic experience during childhood and an underlying genetic predisposition.

Gelotophobia: The Fear of Being Laughed At

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Gelotophobia comes down to self-esteem issues. People with this condition are consciously or subconsciously looking for signs they’re being laughed at and ridiculed in a social setting. They lack confidence, so the slightest hint of a snicker has them assuming that people are laughing at them, which produces anxiety, shortness of breath, and palpitations.

Athazagoraphobia: The Fear of Being Forgotten

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People who suffer from Athazagoraphobia are afraid of being ignored or forgotten. They grow anxious if their phone never rings or if their social media followers start dropping them. Sufferers believe that the world will go on without them and they just can’t handle that. Surprisingly, this very specific phobia is pretty common but its origins are so complex, researchers can’t really pinpoint how it develops.

Spectrophobia: The Fear of Mirrors and Specters

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Spectrophobia is also known as a serious aversion to mirrors. When people suffering from it stand in front of one, they might recoil at the sight of their own reflection. But in some cases, the fear might be tied to religious or superstitious beliefs. This phobia is also tied to the fear of a specter or ghost popping up in a mirror.

Chionophobia: The Fear of Snow

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People who suffer from Chionophobia don’t dream of a white Christmas. That’s because they’re deadly afraid of snow, which means building a snowman and creating snowflakes as decorations around the holidays is completely out of the question. Living with this condition can be extremely difficult in places where snow is expected during winter. People with Chionophobia are pretty aware that their fear is completely irrational and unfounded, but they can’t control it.

Auroraphobia: The Fear of the Northern Lights

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Sufferers of Auroraphobia don’t look up at the Northern Lights, (also known as the Aurora Borealis) with fascination. Those natural lights dancing in the sky at high altitude scares the living daylights out of them. So, when the lights appear, they go into full panic mode, might experience deadly anxiety, and shortness of breath among a myriad of other symptoms.

Heliophobia: The Fear of Sunlight

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Heliophobia stems from the fear of sunlight. People who experience this phobia have an adverse reaction to sunlight. This feeling can stem from how the person feels about their body image when exposed to sunlight to being afraid of the physical reactions caused by the sun because of a sun allergy.

Ancraophobia: The Fear of Wind

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People with Ancraophobia have a fear of drafts and wind, so they probably hate hurricanes a lot more than we all do. They would also have to avoid living in Chicago, which is known as the city of wind. A gust of wind will have them curling into a ball in a corner while they suffer a major panic attack. The only way to treat this phobia is with psychotherapy sessions and cognitive-behavioral theory which have been proven to be effective.

Anthophobia: The Fear of Flowers

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Anthophobia is related to an extreme fear of flowers. Although they might realize the flowers pose no threat when a date brings flowers over, once the fear takes over that door will slam shut and end the evening before it starts. In this case, it’s probably safer to bring a date a heart-shaped box full of chocolates just in case they suffer from this phobia.

Aerophobia: The Fear of Air

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Someone suffering from Aerophobia gets very anxious when flying in helicopters, airplanes or any other device that takes them airborne. In some cases, it makes it impossible for them to use flying as a mode of transportation even though statistics show that it’s still the safest way to travel.

Ecclesiophobia: The Fear of Church

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People with Ecclesiophobia will experience one of two fears associated with churches. Some might be terrified by the actual physical structure of the church while others may experience anxiety because of what the church represents. In either case, most sufferers are either atheists, agnostics, or they do their praying at home.

Syngenesophobia: The Fear of Relatives

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Syngenesophobia is the unfounded fear of relatives, which makes sense when you have a toxic relationship with certain family members like a parent or even a sibling. Cinderella would have had a good reason to suffer from this phobia given how mean her stepmother and stepsisters were. This condition falls within the realm of social phobias, and its origins are linked to internal predispositions and traumatizing events during childhood.

Gamophobia: The Fear of Commitment

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An individual with Gamophobia has a fear of long-term commitment. This can apply to a lot of things like committing to a project or a new position at work. But it can also produce an insane amount of fear when it comes to committing to someone romantically. So, are all those people who can’t seem to pop the question suffering from this? Probably not!

Sociophobia: The Fear of Social Judgment

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Someone with Sociophobia has a difficult time having a healthy social life because they’re always afraid of being seen and being judged by strangers and even people they know. So, they’ll turn down any invitations to social gatherings out of fear of being scrutinized and embarrassed by others.

Soteriophobia: The Fear of Being Dependent

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Those suffering from Soteriophobia have a fear of being dependent on others, because they’re too independent, strong-minded, and in some cases, a bit narcissistic. So, they can never truly submit to the notion of relying on others, even though it’s perfectly normal to do so from time to time.

Nomophobia: The Fear of Losing Cell Phone Contact

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Nomophobia would never exist if cell phones hadn’t been invented. But since they were, people developed an irrational fear of losing their phones, forgetting their phones, or being unable to use their phone for a number of reasons. This could be because they ran out of minutes, ran out of battery, or are out of range of a cell tower. And like most phobias, this could trigger a full-blown panic attack.

Deipnophobia: The Fear of Dining or Dinner Conversations

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An individual suffering from Deipnophobia has a fear of dining or talking to people during dinner or while eating in general. So, they tend to eat alone and in silence. But when they’re eating with others, they prefer for those at the table to remain quiet, too. Otherwise, their anxiety levels skyrocket to the roof, triggering an intense anxiety-driven episode.

Autodysomophobia: The Fear of Vile Odors

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Autodysomophobia sufferers have a fear of vile odors, which means they’ll freak out if someone has strong body odor. Sufferers will try to avoid having body odor themselves, which causes them to wash excessively. But if they get a whiff of vile odors, they may experience shortness of breath, nausea, sweating and irregular heartbeat.

Aphephobia: The Fear of Touch

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Haphephobia is a powerful fear or touching and of being touched by others. So things like kissing, hugging, handshaking, or even a pat in the back is impossible without sending a sufferer into a state of heightened anxiety. Romantic contact of any kind is also completely out of the question for anyone who experiments intense anxiety due to this specific phobia.

Anthropophobia: The Fear of People

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Anthropophobia is a fear or people or society in general. Those afflicted by this phobia are afraid of people and going to social functions like birthday parties, weddings, or even getting on a subway train. And the thought of having company over is simply unthinkable. Like many other phobias, it falls within the spectrum of social phobias, and it could leave a person shaking on the floor, experiencing heart palpitations and shortness of breath.

Venustraphobia: The Fear of Beautiful Women

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People who suffer from Venustraphobia have a fear of beautiful women. This may have been triggered by a negative experience that has left the individual associating a beautiful woman with a horrible encounter. So, whenever a good-looking woman shows up, their brains screams danger and they experience the same symptoms as other phobias that leave them gasping for air, shaking, and feeling nauseous.

Trypophobia: The Fear of Holes

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Trypophobia is a fear of holes, like the ones you see in lotus pods. One look at anything hole-y and these phobia sufferers will experience an extreme reaction that would leave them with itchy skin, shortness of breath, goosebumps, and panic attacks. Psychologists at the University of Kent believe that Trypophobia is caused by a fear of parasites and illnesses. So, in essence, this fear is triggered by a person’s own survival instincts.

Alliumphobia: Fear of Garlic

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People suffering from Alliumphobia aren’t vampires, but they do have one thing in common with them. They don’t like garlic. In fact, they’re terrified of it. Even the slightest whiff of this pungent plant can cause the person to have a major panic attack and experience all of the debilitating symptoms that come with having a phobia.

Phobophobia: The Fear of Having a Phobia

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There are a lot of phobias about all sorts of things. But someone suffering from Phobophobia has the very specific fear of acquiring a phobia. So, in effect, it’s a losing battle in the world of phobias because they’re afraid of the very same thing they’re experiencing. Sufferers cringe at experiencing the same internal sensations that are linked with phobias such as anxiety, pain, nausea, and dizziness.

Linonophobia: The Fear of Strings

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Someone with Linonophobia has a fear of strings or threads. Seeing a string in the real world is traumatic enough, but even seeing a photo of a string online or in a photograph can send someone spiraling. And like most phobias, the fear of strings is associated with something negative that might have happened to the person.

Chorophobia: The Fear of Dancing

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Chorophobia is a fear of dancing. But it can also be triggered by anything that is associated with dancing like a school dance. Even having “Dancing With the Stars” pop up on the television set can be enough to trigger an anxiety attack. The fear is often caused not just because of the dancing itself but because of a fear of crowds and triggering events in their childhood.

Arachibutyrophobia: The Fear of Peanut Butter

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Arachibutyrophobia may be one of the most difficult phobias to pronounce. It’s also one of the weirdest since it involves an irrational fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of one’s mouth. Just thinking about it can trigger anxiety and shortness of breath on someone suffering from this phobia.

Allodoxaphobia: The Fear of Opinions

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Allodoxaphobia is defined as someone who has a fear of opinions. The person afflicted by this most likely had a bad experience sharing their point of view on something. Their opinion could’ve been rejected or ridiculed in the past which led to a traumatizing event. So, anyone suffering from it stays clear of any discussions to avoid confrontation.

Optophobia: The Fear of Opening One’s Eyes

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A person suffering from Optophobia has a fear of opening their eyes and a strong avoidance to external visual stimuli. This specific phobia is the result of genetics and brain chemistry combined with life experiences that can lead to shaking, dryness of the mouth, nausea, and sweating.

Didaskaleinophobia: The Fear of School

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Students who dislike going to school may have Didaskaleinophobia, which is the fear of school or a fear of going to school. This phobia is more common among students ages 7 to 11. It can be triggered by bullying or anxiety over being separated by their parents.

Hylophobia: The Fear of Trees

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People with Hylophobia aren’t tree huggers. They won’t be joining anyone on a camping trip either because they have a powerful fear of trees, woods, and forests. This was caused because they were scared while watching too many horror flicks that related to a forest or a terrifying fairy tale read to them when they were young.

Written by Camila Villafane

Serial tea drinker. Professional wig snatcher. Content creator and video script writer who may or may not be John Leguizamo’s body double. If you don’t like where you are, move. You’re not a tree.