1

I am looking for a word to describe a situation where something may happen on occasion, make headlines, and become perceived as being significant. But in reality is so rare that it is not really significant.

For example being worried about crashing on an airplane.

Any words come to mind?

  • Hi and welcome to the EL&U, please take the tour and have a look at the help center. Tags have specific requirements for information you have to include in your question, Single-word-request is one of them, so please have a look and use the checklist to avoid the risk of your question being closed as low quality. Also, consider if you need a single word or whether a phrase would also suffice, in which case the phrase-requests tag should be added. – Spagirl Oct 19 '18 at 10:58
  • anecdote seems to be a good usage here – lbf Oct 19 '18 at 13:13
  • @user33108 You ask about the worry of crashing on an aeroplane, but want a word to describe the abstract situation? Some clarification of the question may help us all. – We are Monica. Oct 20 '18 at 23:08
2

These things are often described as "irrational fears", e.g. in The Atlantic. This usage can be a little confusing, as some fears are of things that can't cause you harm (e.g. a mouse, the number 13), and some are fears of things that could kill you but are very unlikely (e.g. being hit by space debris, shark attack), but "irrational" is used of both. Another word used in the article is "phobia", although that carries medical connotations and the fear is generally very severe. (You don't say if a noun or adjective is required).

  • Irrational fear is good for what the person has relative to the situation. But it doesn’t describe the type of situation itself. – Jim Oct 19 '18 at 14:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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