Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Fear and loathing in Greek

For reasons I won't go into I was presented with a list of phobias of the x-phobia type and asked what the x part was. This resonated with a few things perhaps most notably the use of Islamophobia being thrown around by the media.

Here's what annoys me - an Anglophile is someone who loves the Angles (English) stemming from philia meaning love as with a philosopher being a lover of sophia (wisdom). However the opposite seems to be stated as an Anglophobe. But the stem for that is phobia or fear; an Anglophobe fears the English.

Except Love and Fear aren't exactly opposites, and in the case of those to whom the term Islamophobe is attached I don't think they fear Islam - they hate it.

So what is hate in Greek? Well if you know what a misanthrope is you've got the answer it's misos. As a suffix it becomes misia. As such someone who hates something is a something-misia or a mis(o)-something. In the previous example an Anglomisia and an Islamomisia hates the English and Islam respectively.

Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but at least it's more accurate.

[Update - Just for fun the Escapist has a phobia quiz. 10/10 on my first try in a time of 1:27. I think that's the highest I've ever gotten; ah the useless information rattling around in my head.

I scored 100%, with 10 of 10 correct on The Escapist's Phobias!.
Take this quiz