A while ago I saw a photo of a lotus seed that scarred me for life. Now whenever I see the picture of a lotus seed or something that even has a similar pattern I feel uneasy, shudder and get goose bumps. Sometimes the sound of nails on a chalkboard elicits a similar response.

Is there a single word that describes this particular sensation of physical discomfort?

1 Answer 1


The particular sensation of physical discomfort upon viewing a lotus seed or lotus seed photo is called trypophobia. There is an interest group with 4000 members (1). Because photos of lotus seeds appear at the links, I include a couple of text extracts from them here:

The term trypophobia (sometimes called repetitive pattern phobia) was coined in 2005, a combination of the Greek trypo (punching, drilling or boring holes) and phobia. It is not recognized in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Thousands of people claim to be fearful of objects with small holes, such as beehives, ant holes, and lotus seed heads. Research is limited... – wikipedia

If you’re like me and you have a visceral reaction to the image above—if it makes your skin crawl, your hair hurt, and your stomach turn—you can count yourself among the trypophobic. According to its Facebook page, which is more than 4,000 members strong, trypophobia is fear of clustered holes. It is usually small holes in organic objects, such as lotus seed heads or bubbles in batter, that give trypophobics the extreme willies, triggering reactions like itchy skin, nausea and a general feeling of discomfort. – Popular Science

  • 1
    I don't reckon the OP is asking for the particular phobia of viewing a lotus seed or picture of a lotus seed. Rather it is about the feeling associated with such situations.
    – Sayan
    Mar 26, 2013 at 9:33
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    @KeyBrdBasher perhaps it's the willies but that's two words
    – user57234
    Mar 26, 2013 at 9:56
  • @KeyBrdBasher, I agree, but didn't think of anything good for that (although axrwkr's suggestion is fine) and answered the part of the question I did know about. Mar 26, 2013 at 14:35

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