xe·​no·​pho·​bia | \ ˌze-nə-ˈfō-bē-ə How to pronounce xenophobia (audio) , ˌzē- How to pronounce xenophobia (audio) \

Definition of xenophobia

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

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. Xenophobia itself came to us by way of New Latin and first appeared in print in English in the late 19th century.

Examples of xenophobia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Mahdavi tells the story of how Teddy Roosevelt, in his outrage at losing the Presidency to Woodrow Wilson, in 1912, appealed to Americans’ xenophobia. Mary Norris, The New Yorker, 25 Apr. 2022 Skull measurement was a popular technique in race science, and was used to support nationalism, white supremacy, and xenophobia. Kate Crawford, The Atlantic, 27 Apr. 2021 For Macron and the rest of the moderate West, the challenge is to balance denouncing far-right xenophobia while taking seriously a huge portion of the electorate and not demonizing them, Lorimer said. Patrick Galey, NBC News, 25 Apr. 2022 Some blame the pandemic and cite rising xenophobia. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, 5 Feb. 2022 Some blame the pandemic and cite rising xenophobia. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, 5 Feb. 2022 This game isn’t rooted in xenophobia or colonization, or in Black characters saving white characters. Junae Benne, Wired, 30 Sep. 2021 International integration is failing; declining birth rates, combined with a wave of immigration from the Middle East and North Africa, have created an angry rise of nostalgia and xenophobia. Anne Applebaum, The Atlantic, 17 Mar. 2022 Any message sent by the U.S. for expelling them would be suffused with cruelty and xenophobia. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 7 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'xenophobia.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of xenophobia

1877, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for xenophobia

New Latin

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Time Traveler for xenophobia

Time Traveler

The first known use of xenophobia was in 1877

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Statistics for xenophobia

Last Updated

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Xenophobia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/xenophobia. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for xenophobia


xe·​no·​pho·​bia | \ ˌzen-ə-ˈfō-bē-ə How to pronounce xenophobia (audio) , ˌzēn- How to pronounce xenophobia (audio) \

Medical Definition of xenophobia

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

More from Merriam-Webster on xenophobia

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for xenophobia

Nglish: Translation of xenophobia for Spanish Speakers


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