Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


About | Media | Search | Contact  


Today's Word

Yesterday's Word



Archives: Peanut butter phobia

From: Wordsmith (wsmith@wordsmith.org)
Date: Tue, 4 Oct 1994 23:12:45 -0400
Subject: Peanut butter phobia


Ever heard of the word for fear of peanut butter getting stuck to the roof of one's mouth? Linguaphile Al Ustinov of ibm.com is hunting for this word and he has made me curious as well.

"Being an immigrant to the US, I was fascinated by this uniquely American malady and could recall this word at whim," he wrote, "Age and an excess of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have since taken their toll on my memory, and I was wondering if you had ever heard of this phobia?" I am sure we can count of the 4,000+ linguaphiles to get him "unstuck." If you know the word (or what you think the word should be), please send it in.

Pondering near Lake Erie...

From: Wordsmith (wsmith@wordsmith.org)
Date: Fri, 7 Oct 1994 11:15:17 -0400
Subject: Re: Peanut butter phobia

Call for the search of a word for "fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth" went out a couple of days back. Here are some smooth and crunchy selections from the resulting outpour:

Kurt Greene of ge.com came up with the word "dorsobuccalarachihypogaea- phobia." Of course, he has supplied the etymology too: "Arachis hypogaea is the species/genus/whatever-it's-called for the peanut." Erik G. Urdang from uswest.com suggested "Arachidnophobia." Some related words he sent may come handy next time you decide to order a peanut butter sandwich in some elegant French restaurant: "The French word for peanuts is `arachides,' peanut butter is, of course `beurre d'arachides.'" Forrest Richey of ucarb.com, a veteran linguaphile, concocted "hypogaeuvullasphyxiophobia." This word came with the proper usage guidelines: "Please note, I expect this word to be enunciated by one in the grip of the feared condition."

Many folks enlisted the help of their friends in search for the word. Colleen Dawes of bwc.org sent in this little tale:

I asked a friend of mine (Carol Sprague) who is quite a linguaphile and her response is below: `Yes, I believe it's legumopalatophobia. We used to try to induce this in our dogs by giving them bread with peanut-butter on it (p/n butter side UP of course) and watch them trying to lick it off the roof of their mouths (while rolling on the floor as we thought this was hilarious - okay, so we were like a little weird). They never seemed to learn though, because as soon as it was gone, they were back for more.'

A large number did find the right word. Sooo... without further ado, the word we were looking for is "arachibutyrophobia." The plaque of discoverers-of-the-word includes: Michael Salmons (missouri.edu), Craig Engler (ieee.org), Uday Shankar (morgan.com), John Kratten (georgetown.edu), Clay Shirky (panix.com), Michelle Campbell (otago.ac.nz), James Dignan (otago.ac.nz), T. M. Murali (duke.edu), Clay Breshears (utk.edu), Tom B. Valesky (gmu.edu), Andria L. Fiegel (pipeline.com), Anand Natrajan (virginia.edu), Chiquito Crasto (ohio-state.edu), Doc Greene (utexas.edu), G. Buster Kaminaga (oracle.com) and Lonnie M. Turbee of syr.edu.

Some other honorable mentions were "cleftosmuckaphobia" which came from a friend of David Ross of oh.us. Michael Salmons of missouri.edu too consulted his pal and wrote back, "... he also passed on another phobic fave of his: `ergophobia' (fear of work). I can relate."

Now that we have slipped onto other phobias, here is an interesting report from Hillel Bromberg, an avid phobophile at babson.edu:

First of all, it's interesting that there is a name for the fear of young girls (parthenophobia) ... Someone with a horrifying band teacher came up with aulophobia (flutes), and a worse physics teacher gave someone barophobia (gravity). It doesn't take a chemist to produce one of my very favorites, blennophobia or myxophobia (fear of slime).

Winston Churchill taught us that we should all suffer from phobophobia (fear), though I'm sure he himself never knew a pang of katagelophobia (ridicule). I don't know where it fits in, but I have to mention the infamous triskaidekaphobia (unreasonable fear of the number 13).

Some of these hit rather close to home. Or don't, as the case may be. We Jews hardly suffer from ecclesiophobia (church) or papaphobia (the Pope), and our theology doesn't really leave room for ouranophobia (heaven) or stygiophobia (hell).

Among others, his list included "ddiippllooppiiaapphhoobbiiaa" - fear of double vision. He added, "I do hope that, while living where you are, you never know limnophobia (fear of lakes)."

Perhaps all this phobia talk induced a new strain of phobia in Rick Armstrong of aberdeen.k12.ms.us. He confided, "I must confess that I have a fear of standing on one foot in a parking lot, singing `Ole McDonald' while pterodactiles fly overhear having a dogfight with naked men flying biplanes... What is that called?"

Finally, here is my favorite: aibohphobia - the fear of palindromes. Many thank to all of you who responded - and to your friends! I have a feeling we might have heard from a few other folks, if it were not for graphophobia (fear of writing) (-: . In any case, there is one phobia, I am sure, none of us on this list is afflicted with: logophobia (fear of words).

From the autumnal shores of Lake Erie...

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere


Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2022 Wordsmith