Happy Friday the 13th! Today’s Word: Paraskavedekatriaphobia (Noun)

Today’s Word: Paraskavedekatriaphobia (Noun)

Pronunciation: [pê-ræs-kê-vey-dê-kæ-tri-ê-'fo-bi-yê]

Definition 1: The Fear of Friday the Thirteenth, a form of triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number thirteen.

Usage 1: The fear of Friday the 13th originated in two fears: the fear of Friday and the fear of the number “13.” Why? Well, no one knows so we won’t repeat any of the urban myths that have arisen to explain either. The fear of 13 is clearly much greater than the fear of Friday, since the 13th floor is regularly omitted from high-rise buildings, 13th Street and 13th Avenue are often omitted in street numbering, and no one would dare invite 13 guests to sit around the table for dinner–at least one would surely die within a year.

Suggested Usage: Most people fear this word more than breaking a mirror while walking under a ladder to avoid a black cat on Friday 13th. It is long but pronounceable with a little practice: “Paraskavedekatriaphobia is among the leading causes of loss of productivity since many sufferers avoid coming to work on that day.” For the adjective, just replace the final [a] with a [c], “Freemont is an old paraskavedekatriaphobic who never leaves the house on Friday the 13th.”

Etymology: Today’s word is a humorous concoction that no Greek would ever utter. It seems to be based on the Greek word for Friday “paraskeue” + dekatria “thirteen” (deka “ten” + tria “three;” not “thirteenth,” which is “dekatreis”) + fobos “fear” + ia, a noun suffix. “Friday the Thirteenth” in Modern Greek is “Paraskeue kai dekatreis.” If you are worried today, we thought you might like to know that your worry has a name.

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