• xenophobia
  • audio pronunciation
  • \zen-uh-FOH-bee-uh\
  • DEFINITION

noun

: fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign
  • EXAMPLES

"A Labour MP has been accused of xenophobia after complaining about the Polish staff who served him a disappointing bacon sandwich." — From an article in The Telegraph (London), April 25, 2012

"A few counterexamples raise doubts: the downturn in immigration during World War I due to the interruption of transatlantic ship traffic and the mobilization of many young Europeans for the war did not lead to a decline in stereotypes and prejudice; in fact, the wartime period and the few years afterward produced some of the worst xenophobia the United States has ever seen." — From Richard Alba's 2012 book Blurring the Color Line

  • DID YOU KNOW?

If you look back to the ancient Greek terms that underlie the word "xenophobia," you'll discover that xenophobic individuals are literally "stranger fearing." "Xenophobia," that elegant-sounding name for an aversion to persons unfamiliar, ultimately derives from two Greek terms: "xenos," which can be translated as either "stranger" or "guest," and "phobos," which means either "fear" or "flight." "Phobos" is the ultimate source of all English "-phobia" terms, but many of those were actually coined in English or New Latin using the combining form "-phobia" (which traces back to "phobos"). "Xenophobia" itself came to us by way of New Latin and first appeared in print in English in 1903.

Word Family Quiz: What is acrophobia? The answer is …

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