After my post on fears and phobias last month, a few people asked me if there was a specific name for the fear of scorpions. Scorpions belong to the arachnid family of animals so ‘arachnophobia’ would cover the fear of them and spiders, too.
This started me thinking about what the most common phobias are and what their names are in English. I had a look at a number of sources online and they all had slightly different information but here are the ten phobias that featured in most of the lists.
- ARACHNOPHOBIA: Fear of arachnids.
- SOCIOPHOBIA / PHOBIA: Fear of people or social situations.
- AEROPHOBIA: Fear of flying.
- AGORAPHOBIA: Fear of places where it would be difficult to escape if one suffered from a panic attack. Note: Native speakers of English often use this term to talk about people who are afraid of open spaces.
- CLAUSTROPHOBIA: Fear of confined or small spaces.
- EMETOPHOBIA: Fear of vomit or vomiting.
- ACROPHOBIA / ALTOPHOBIA: Fear of heights. Note: Native speakers often use the word ‘vertigo’ to talk about fear of heights. ‘Vertigo’ is the feeling of dizziness and difficulty balancing caused by acrophobia or altophobia and is not a word for the fear itself.
- CARCINOPHOBIA: Fear of cancer.
- BRONTOPHOBIA: Fear of thunder and lightning.
- NECROPHOBIA: Fear of death or dead things.
Another common one I saw was:
- AICHMOPHOBIA: Fear of needles.
There is one more I would like to mention that could make it very difficult for a person to learn a language:
- GLOSSOPHOBIA: Fear of public speaking.
I am not afraid of speaking in public in English. As a teacher, I have to speak in front of groups of people every day. However, I do get a little nervous if I have to speak in front of a group using my second language. I usually have a cup of green tea and do some deep breathing to calm my nerves if I am in that situation.
Do you ever get afraid of speaking in public? If so, how do you calm your nerves?