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?

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    – 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. Oct 20 '18 at 23:08

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

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