Word of the Week 2-1-2019


kak·​or·​rhaph·​io·​pho·​bia | \ ˌkak-ə-ˌraf-ē-ə-ˈfō-bē-ə



abnormal, persistent, irrational fear of failure. In clinical cases, it’s debilitating: the fear of even the most subtle failure or defeat is so intense that it restricts a person from doing anything at all.


This is the last word that someone with kakorrhaphiophobia would want to encounter in a spelling bee. Wattapad

As he struggled to accept his new responsibility, Harry was burdened beyond relief by kakorrhaphiophobia. (Horne Learning Services)


Kakorrhaphiophobia comes from a combination of the Greek phrase Kakos, “bad and evil,” and Phobos, “fear.” The English word “cacophony,” which describes “a harsh discordant mixture of sounds,” shares the same root. Today’s wacky word is associated with the more commonly used term “Atychiphobia.” It is used to describe the medical condition of someone who fears failure and looking bad in every aspect of life. Patients diagnosed with kakorrhaphiophobia often have symptoms ranging from occasional anxiety to anything associated with panic such as shortness of breath, nausea, and shaking. Because of their fear, many patients choose to live in total isolation.

Serious kakorrhaphiophobia is rare, but we think it’s fair to say that living in today’s competitive society can make us a little kakorrhaphiophobic at times. Whether we’re afraid of failing to impress our supervisor, pleasing our significant other, or meeting family expectations, sometimes it’s hard not to be afraid of potential failure. However, experts say being able to feel the risk is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, the best way to eliminate the fear of kakorrhaphiophobia, according to a website called “Phobia Fear Release” is to accept risk and failure head on. By understanding that failure is sometimes the path to success, you will be encouraged to pursue your goals, whatever the risk.




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