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?

  • Going by the Greek, my best guess would be symophobia. But I find no references at all for it.
    – mmyers
    Commented Aug 25, 2010 at 22:29

5 Answers 5


Wiktionary says:


  • 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.

  • Xenophile means an individual who is attracted to foreign peoples, manners, or cultures; it is not what the OP is asking for.
    – apaderno
    Commented Aug 26, 2010 at 0:13
  • 5
    @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
    Commented Aug 26, 2010 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).


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

  • 2
    Which would be "ecophobia" if we took a more traditional approach to transliterating the Greek.
    – herisson
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 4:33
  • 1
    To expand on this, which seems like a good approach, can we have the English translations of the "xeno-", "oiko-" and "eco-" prefixes? Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 11:09

Would it not be simpler to say

that person is prejudiced against foreigners


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.

  • 3
    +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"?! Commented Aug 26, 2010 at 2:10
  • 1
    The use of the -phobia suffix to mean prejudice is now well-established.
    – TRiG
    Commented Oct 19, 2010 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. Commented Dec 22, 2010 at 3:23

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

  • The first sentence should really be a comment on the answer which advanced "oikophobia"; and What is it that sociophobia 'generally' is? Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 14:16

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