ai·​lu·​ro·​pho·​bia | \ ī-​ˌlu̇r-​ə-​ˈfō-​bē-​ə How to pronounce ailurophobia (audio) , ā- \
variants: or less commonly aelurophobia \ ē-​​ˌlu̇r-​​ə-​​ˈfō-​​bē-​​ə How to pronounce ailurophobia (audio) \

Definition of ailurophobia

: abnormal fear or loathing of cats I don't know where my intense fear of cats came from or when it began. Ailurophobia, by definition, is irrational. But I am sure of this: Those sneaky little devils are out to get me.— Dahleen Glanton

called also felinophobia

Other Words from ailurophobia

ailurophobe \ ī-​ˈlu̇r-​ə-​ˌfōb How to pronounce ailurophobia (audio) , ā-​ How to pronounce ailurophobia (audio) \ or less commonly aelurophobe \ ē-​ˈlu̇r-​ə-​ˌfōb How to pronounce ailurophobia (audio) \ noun, plural ailurophobes also aelurophobes
One famous ailurophobe was Pope Gregory IX, who declared in 1232 that cats were diabolical creatures, the embodiment of the devil and a symbol of heresy. Western Free Press (Arizona)
ailurophobic \ ī-​​ˌlu̇r-​​ə-​​ˈfō-​​bik How to pronounce ailurophobia (audio) , ā-​ \ or less commonly aelurophobic \ ē-​​ˌlu̇r-​​ə-​​ˈfō-​​bik How to pronounce ailurophobia (audio) \ adjective
… a crime-scene photographer so ailurophobic she refused to enter the house until the homeowner had herded her cats into a single room. — Ken Daley … some cat-lovers claim Garfield is a ratty sort of cat and the books are actually ailurophobic. The New York Times Book Review

First Known Use of ailurophobia

1905, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ailurophobia

Greek aiélouros, aílouros "wild or domestic cat" (of uncertain origin) + -o- + -phobia

Note: According to an analysis dating back to the Etymologicum Magnum (12th century, from earlier sources), the word is composed of aiólos "quick-moving, nimble" and -ouros "having a tail (of the kind specified)." However, the word aiólos itself being of unknown origin, there is no explanation for the appearance of -e- in aiélouros. Presumably aiélouros first designated the wildcat (Felis sylvestris), as the domestic cat was a relatively late introduction in ancient Greece.

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The first known use of ailurophobia was in 1905

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Cite this Entry

“Ailurophobia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for ailurophobia


variants: or aelurophobia \ -​ˌlu̇r-​ə-​ˈfō-​bē-​ə How to pronounce ailurophobia (audio) \

Medical Definition of ailurophobia

: abnormal fear of cats


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