By "external" I mean a person who has a fear or worry of things that could cause serious illness, rather than the fear of already having a serious illness itself. For example, say you worry about things like contaminants in your drinking water, or lead in the products you own or buy that were made in China, and so on. Is there a term for such hypochondriac-ish people like that?

  • Adrian Monk. ;)
    – Guffa
    Feb 22, 2011 at 13:21

4 Answers 4


A mysophobe (or germaphobe) is someone who has a a pathological fear of contamination and germs.

  • Since Google didn't like the term toxicophobe (tried to correct it to toxicophore) and mysophobe had a Wikipedia entry, this is the valid answer. And yes, I was already aware of "germaphobe" but that's not so relevant to chemical contaminants. Mysophobia works for more than just germs though, so that works.
    – purefusion
    Feb 22, 2011 at 13:07

That would be covered by germaphobe in the case of being afraid of germs everywhere and toxicophobe in the case of chemical contaminants.

  • 2
    You expect me to spell well too? Updating...
    – bye
    Feb 22, 2011 at 12:55
  • Google asks "Did you mean: toxicophore/tocophobia?" :)
    – purefusion
    Feb 22, 2011 at 13:09

Panthophobia is a fear of disease; nosophobia is closer, being a fear of becoming ill: but considering the number of things that can hurt or damage a person, pantophobia or panphobia (fear of everything) seems more appropriate.

More seriously, you may be looking for a word meaning 'fear of harm'. There simply isn't one, at least in normal usage. "Fear of harm" itself has some currency in medical journals, but I suspect a phobia is irrational and fear of harm is rational (at least to a doctor).


Pathophobia - fear of disease. (Root "path" as in "pathogen", "pathological"). This would include any cause of disease whether biological, chemical, psychological etc.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.