Word of the Day

xenophobia

audio pronunciation
April 20, 2013
noun
\zen-uh-FOH-bee-uh\
Definition
: 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
Subscribe
Get the Word of the Day direct to your inbox — subscribe today!
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 …
More Words of the Day
Visit our archives to see previous selections.
Podcast
Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears