If I let myself, I become upset and a bit terrified by smooth hard structures. A good example is the most perfect sphere in the world, seen here. It's a polished sphere of solid silicon-28.

The metal cylinder held by the host later in the video also creeps me out.

A sphere of smooth concrete, granite, marble, or some other hard substance is the worst.

What's the best prefix for my -phobia?

(I think the reason for this phobia is that I slipped and whacked the back of my head against a smooth concrete surface when I was very young.)

  • If that fall is indeed the cause then you likely have post-traumatic stress syndrome.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 18:14
  • I'll accept that, but I think this still qualifies as a phobia, right? Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 18:15
  • You'd have to ask a psychiatrist.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 18:16
  • 1
    Did you watch Phantasm at an impressionable age?
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 0:25
  • 1
    I've accepted Ronald's answer because he did a good job and answered first. He uses a reference I hadn't known about so far. Now that I've thought about it more and have an exact understanding of what bothers me and what doesn't, I've used that reference to find a coinage of my own: lissostereophobia. Lisso- means "smooth, polished", and stereo- means "solid, hard, 3D". It's the closest I can come with just two prefixes. "lissospherophobia" is also close but imperfect. Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 15:14

4 Answers 4


In Greek an even, level, smooth; used in the sense of "flat" or "plane" would be termed as homalo- or homal-.

Perhaps you could consider this:



a fear of walking on or of touching even or smooth surfaces

  • I cannot find any existing word in English beginning homal.... The nearest on offer is Hotmail!
    – WS2
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 18:39
  • @WS2 - Well, close enough. Lots of people have Hotmail-phobia.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 19:00

Fear of what is (a) hard and (b) smooth? One coinage, coming up!

Relevant ancient Greek adjectives are λεῖος, smooth, and σκληρός, hard.

Therefore, līo-sclēro-phobia or sclēro-līo-phobia. Take your pick.


I suggest this:


from the Greek combining forms for 'smooth' and 'hard'.

Forming scientific terms with the sense ‘smooth, bare’.


occurring in scientific terms. 1. As combining form of Greek σκληρός hard.

(From OED Online.)


If you want an English word, then don't make a word from obscure Greek roots, make one from regular English roots:


or perhaps


  • Why not get rid of the -phobia part too, then? That's Greek! So is sphero-, and silicon is Latin (despite its Greek-seeming termination). And the whole synthetic approach is to be rejected on like grounds. OP's query be damned! "Fear of what is smooth and hard!" Final answer! Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 4:05
  • @BrianDonovan I'm not opposed to words with Greek or Latin origins. But unlike homal, psilo, or sclero, almost everyone will recognise sphero, silicon and of course phobia. They may have Greek or Latin origins, but now they're just normal English morphemes. Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 4:15
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    @BrianDonovan, 'spherefear' has a disturbing ring to it--just the thing for a phobia! Chisel a space in there, 'sphere fear', and you've done an end run around downvoting neologophobes (maybe those are quasi logophobes...there might be some disagreement). Either way, though, it doesn't seem as if that sort of wonderful English compound is what the OP had in mind; nor is the 'sphere' part (structure, cylinder, sphere, surface all came into play).
    – JEL
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 9:28
  • 1
    @JEL Sphere fear is great! Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 9:34

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