These days there are a host of words constructed with -phobia that express dislike towards a class of people or things. As far as I understand, in common parlance, -phobia technically encompasses any dislike, whether fearful or not. However, in spite of this it has acquired certain connotations:

  • Clinical phobias have captured the lay peoples' imagination, and armchair psychiatrists have grown fond of over-diagnosing "phobias" on trivial grounds (eg. one who prefers taking the bus becomes "car-phobic", someone who orders a veggie burger is "meat-phobic", someone who finds cell phones impractical is "technophobic" and so on), whether such phobias are even recognized by the mental health community or not.
  • Not all dislike is grounded in fear. For instance, one may dislike wearing cumbersome clothes not because he is terrified of becoming enveloped in them, but simply because they are not very comfortable.
  • An occasional rhetorical tactic is to attack an opponent's dislike of a thing by suggesting this dislike is grounded in irrational fear instead of arising from logical conclusion. A person on the receiving end of this, by the mere act of using the word, is implicitly submitting to this attack, making even sound arguments for the alleged "phobia" sound self-defeating.

Because of this, I feel like there is a gap in vocabulary in certain cases when one wishes to describe "mere dislike" of a thing without necessarily fear of that thing.

Is there a suffix that can, in analogy to -phobia, be used to express such "mere dislike", but unlike -phobia, not carrying any connotation of fear?


2 Answers 2


What about averse?

adj. Having a feeling of opposition, distaste, or aversion; strongly disinclined

For example, you could say "He was averse to new technology, but hand-wrote long letters to all his friends every Sunday." This doesn't mean he was afraid of computers, but just didn't like them.

I could swear I've also seen "averse" used similarly to a suffix, as in "He was broccoli averse." (Or "broccoli-averse"; I'm not sure which one would be more correct)

  • +1 While not (or perhaps not always) strictly a suffix, this does capture the sense of dislike without implying fear. A common example in investment is the term risk averse.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 2:45
  • Could work, but if I was to give up on having a single word, I could just say "dislikes broccoli".
    – Superbest
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 3:11
  • 1
    @Superbest You could use "dislike", but there's still an advantage to the alternative: I guarantee you'll sound smarter if you use "averse." :p Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 3:34

-misia is the suffix that means (strong) dislike for something.

For example in:

  • Iatromisia: from Greek iatro-, "physician, medicine" + Greek misos, "hatred"; from miseo, "I hate"

So it is clear that iatromisia is somehow different from iatrophobia (which is an abnormal or irrational fear of doctors or going to the doctor).

  • logomisia: from Greek logos, "words" + Greek misos, "I hate"

Because Linda often connected the term "argument" with bad memories between her parents, that started with normal conversation then developed into loud and angry voices, all of which turned her into a person with logomisia.

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