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Xenophobia refers to the irrational fear or hatred of foreigners. But recently I've seen people displaying (in newspaper articles and other places) an irrational fear or hatred of their own countrymen. Is there a word for that?

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Going by the Greek, my best guess would be symophobia. But I find no references at all for it. –  mmyers Aug 25 '10 at 22:29

6 Answers 6

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Wiktionary says:

Antonyms

  • xenomania
  • xenophilia
  • xenophily
  • allophilia (more general)

This is, however, not exactly what you are looking for, since being attracted to foreigners does not imply hating your compatriots. Allophilia won't fly at all, because it's an antonym for all kinds of prejudice.

I think your best bet is just to be specific: anti-Americanism, anti-Canadianism, anti-Ukrainian sentiment, anti-Irish sentiment, sinophobia, lusophobia and so forth:

  • Americans are increasingly displaying anti-Americanism.
  • Sinophobia is on the rise in China.
  • Russian teenagers are showing signs of anti-Russian sentiment.

This will be understood by far more people than any generic term for "irrational fear or hatred of one's own countrymen" we can come up with.

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Xenophile means an individual who is attracted to foreign peoples, manners, or cultures; it is not what the OP is asking for. –  kiamlaluno Aug 26 '10 at 0:13
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@kiamlaluno: absolutely, and for that very reason xenophile is just one of the many words my answer is composed of, just as teenagers, fly and forth. –  RegDwigнt Aug 26 '10 at 0:25

Not a word, but phrases frequently (mis-)used: self-loathing, self-hating. For instance, Wikipedia has an article called self-hating Jew (whatever the validity of the term).

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Would it not be simpler to say

that person is prejudiced against foreigners

and

that person is prejudiced against his own country

rather than to try to misappropriate yet another medical term?

A phobia once meant a medical condition. Unfortunately xenophobia's medical use as fear of foreigners has been corrupted by use as a kind of fancy synonym for racism. Similarly for silly words like homophobia, which means "prejudice against homosexuals" rather than "fear of homosexuals".

Medical words are often subjected to this kind of mistreatment. Take "nutritional value", which, to a nutritionist, means "the number of calories in a food". This word has been corrupted in common usage to the extent that people say things like "McDonald's food has no nutritional value" as a way of claiming that McDonald's food is not healthy. The speaker wants to add credibility to her claim about healthiness by using a fancy "medical" word which she actually doesn't understand, in effect saying that a type of food high in calories contains no calories at all.

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+1. "Homophobia" is ugly (the word itself, in addition to what it usually stands for) — the word doesn't even mention anything having to do with sexual orientation in it; does "homophobia" mean "fear of similar things"?! –  ShreevatsaR Aug 26 '10 at 2:10
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The use of the -phobia suffix to mean prejudice is now well-established. –  TRiG Oct 19 '10 at 18:31
    
"McDonald's food is not healthy" is quite wrong too. Food is not "healthy" (there's "health-food", but that is a marketing term) As long as there's no (high doses of) poison in it... Oh, and a nutritionist is just about calories? Don't think so. Honestly, you sound like those fools who go on about "too many americanisms in German". Languages change and evolve, or they are dead. –  Jürgen A. Erhard Dec 22 '10 at 3:23

I came across this possibility today: oikophobia, which sounds like what I was looking for.

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Oikophobia means fearing your ambience. There is no specific term for fearing one's own community people or local people. It is generally sociophobia.

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The first sentence should really be a comment on the answer which advanced "oikophobia"; and What is it that sociophobia 'generally' is? –  StoneyB Dec 5 '12 at 14:16

I believe that the term is 'nostraphobia'.

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Welcome to EL&U. Your answer would be much improved if you could link to a dictionary definition, or cite examples of its use "in the wild." For additional guidance on how to answer questions on this site, I encourage you to visit the help center. –  choster Oct 11 at 0:49

protected by Mitch Oct 11 at 1:33

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