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What is the Fear of Animals Called?

Beward the hippo!

Do you have a fear of animals? Do you find that the thought of a hippo creeping through your window reduces you to shivers?

What is the fear of animals called?

Such are the questions that you get at the library. This has prompted me to do a lot of reading about various phobias. It’s interesting enough that I’m going to start cataloging them here on the blog.

The fear of animals is called zoophobia.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the earliest use of the word zoophobia was in 1901, in American Anthropologist: 

Experience of superior faculty awakens consciousness of superior power‥and rends the shackles of zoöphobia.

And here’s the official OED definition:

A morbid or superstitious fear of animals.

There you have it. Stay away from all those critters.

And if you like words, you might enjoy this post about vocabulary games.

photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wagnerr/

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